Tags: "yazidi" (2787)

Threat of closure of camps for Yazidi refugees in Kurdistan Region

Read: 450     12:00     16 Май 2024    

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Monday warned against the planned closure of camps in the Kurdistan Region hosting internally displaced people from the Yazidi heartland of Shingal, stating that the town remains unsafe and lacks basic services.

In March, officials from the Iraqi migration ministry told Rudaw that it would stop all aid for the displaced persons in the Kurdistan Region by July 30, adding that the displaced persons would receive 4 million dinars [about $2,670] in aid as an incentive to encourage their return.

“The planned closure of displaced people’s camps in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) by a July 30 deadline will imperil the rights of many camp residents from the northern Sinjar [Shingal] district,” HRW said in the report.

“Sinjar remains unsafe and lacks adequate social services to ensure the economic, social, and cultural rights of thousands of displaced people who may soon be forced to return,” it added.

There are more than 630,000 IDPs in the Kurdistan Region, though most of them reside outside of the 23 camps established across Duhok, Erbil, and Sulaimani provinces, according to figures from the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Joint Crisis Coordination Center. The Kurdistan Region was hosting several million IDPs at the peak of the conflict with the Islamic State (ISIS).

“Many Sinjaris have been living in camps since 2014 and they deserve to be able to go home, but returns need to be safe and voluntary,” said Sarah Sanbar, Iraq researcher at HRW.

“Given the lack of services, infrastructure, and safety in the district, the government risks making an already bad situation worse,” she added.

The Yazidis in Shingal were subjected to countless heinous atrocities, including forced marriages, sexual violence, and massacres when ISIS captured the city in 2014, bringing destruction to many villages and towns populated by the minority group. The Yazidis were forced to flee to displacement camps across Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. The town was liberated from the group in late 2015.  

In August 2023, Shingal mayor Naif Sido told Rudaw that 60 percent of Shingal residents still live in IDP camps and houses in the Kurdistan Region, mainly in Duhok province. He blamed political and financial factors as well as the Iraqi government’s failure to rebuild those houses that were destroyed during the ISIS attack. 

Iraq says there are over 30,000 IDPs from Iraq’s southern and central provinces living in the Kurdistan Region’s camps.

Despite the financial incentive, many families are reluctant to leave because of continuing violence in their hometowns, a lack of reconstruction following the destruction of their homes, and little in the way of basic services. Some who voluntarily left the camps have been forced to return, unable to piece together the basics.

The camps in the Kurdistan Region also suffer from a lack of funds. In December, a Sulaimani migration department official told Rudaw that residents of Arbat camp were moved to Ashti camp to save money after aid was cut off.

Tags: #yazidisinfo   #newsyazidis   #aboutyazidis   #refugeesyazidis   #iraqyazidis