Iraq: No Care, No Protection for Millions of Homeless at Home

Human Wrongs Watch

Today there are more than 1.3 million internally displaced Iraqis, with 500,000 of them “living in extremely precarious conditions.”

Displaced Iraqi families in Um Al-Baneen camp in Baghdad | Credit:UN

This is just one of the consequences of the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq, started in 2003 and ended -only officially- few weeks ago.

In addition, the UN says despite the return of some one million internally displaced persons (IDPs) since 2003, large numbers of displaced Iraqis remain unable or unwilling to return to their places of origin.

The total figure of over 2,3 million internally displaced Iraqis -one million of them returned to their homes- is to be added to around two million Iraqi refugees outside their country, making a total of more than 4,3 million Iraqis (or one fifth of the entire population) living far away from their relatives, workplaces, towns and villages.

“These people are living in dramatic circumstances. They are homeless or living in slums and feel a high level of despair,” said the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), António Guterres.

Care and Protection Badly Needed

For his part, Martin Kobler, top UN envoy in Iraq, stressed the need to ensure that internally displaced persons in the country continue to receive the care and protection they need, while efforts are made to help them return to their areas of origin, resettle or integrate into host communities, according to a UN report.

“Our collective responsibility is to ensure that the displaced are adequately cared for as long as they live in displacement, while measures are being taken to plan for their sustainable return, resettlement and local integration, the three key pillars of a durable solutions strategy,” said Kobler, who is the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq.

“No durable solution can be achieved without the express consent of those on whose behalf it [the strategy] is being implemented,” Kobler told the High-Level Meeting on Displacement and Durable Solutions in Iraq, organized in Baghdad by the Iraqi Ministry of Development and Migration, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration.

The aim of the meeting was to brief the international community on the plight of the more than 1.3 million people who remain displaced in Iraq and discuss the way forward to finding a durable solution to the problem.

“They Are entitled to a Life in Dignity, Like all Other Iraqis”

“By ensuring that those who fled the cruelty of violence that befell this country in the past years can safely return to their homes – or, where return is not possible, that they are given a free choice of resettling or integrating in a place of their choosing – we help restore their rights,” said Kobler. “We recognize them as citizens of this country, who are entitled to a life in dignity, like all other Iraqis.”

Despite the return of some one million IDPs since 2003, large numbers of displaced Iraqis remain unable or unwilling to return to their places of origin. Baghdad hosts the largest number ?,347 people or 57,194 families – registered with the Ministry of Displacement and Migration.

Read also:

The Untold Slaughter in Iraq

The Reality of the Iraq War

For Most U.S. Politicians “the Promotion of Wars Is More Sacred Than God Himself!”

The U.S. $4 Trillion War on Iraq: Mission Unaccomplished

What Future For Iraq?

U.S. ‘Freedom’ For Iraq Devours The Lives Of 15 Million Children

So Iran Wins the War

2012 Human Wrongs Watch

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