Iraq: Displaced Families Being Forced Out of Camps with Nowhere to Go

On 28 August 2019, about 600 displaced individuals originally from Hawija, residing in Hammam Al-Alil IDP camp were evicted from the camp by Iraqi authorities. Most of these families in the camps are highly reliant on humanitarian support to survive and cannot return as they don’t have any home to return to. Photo: Tom Peyre-Costa/NRC.
The Norwegian Refugee Council is releasing B-roll with interviews and photos of more than 600 displaced people from Hawija in northern Iraq being boarded onto buses from Hammam Al-Alil camp as they were evicted by Iraqi authorities yesterday [28 August 2019].

This is only one instance of forced returns of displaced people to unsafe areas in what looks like a worrying policy of emptying displacement camps even if the families’ original neighbourhoods are still in ruins after years of war with the Islamic State group.

In addition, many of these families fear return due to perceived affiliation with IS resulting in stigmatisation and community violence.

On 24 August, 35 families were forcibly returned to Anbar. Thousands more are expected to be forcibly transferred in the next days.

Speaking from the camp where families were being forced onto buses, NRC’s media coordinator in Iraq, Tom Peyre-Costa said: “Hundreds of families have already been forced to leave their camps and return to their area of origin, often in unsafe conditions. Most of these families depend heavily on humanitarian support to survive.

Many don’t have any home to return to or face community violence if they return. In fact, forcing them back might undermine prospects for social cohesion and stability because of existing community tensions that are still not dealt with.

Several families told me that they feared return to their areas of origin, some saying they received threatening messages from community members. Many were being transferred without civil documents, which prevents them from receiving food, healthcare and education.”

*SOURCE: Norwegian Refugee Council. Go to ORIGINAL.


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