Iranian Kurd refugees in Iraq relocated from no-man’s land to camp – UN

Iranian-Kurdish refugees at the Kawa camp

8 July 2009 – The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has shut down a makeshift camp, home to nearly 200 Iranian Kurds refugees, in the no-man’s land on the Iraqi-Jordanian border, relocating them to another site on Iraq’s border with Syria.

The 186 Iranian Kurds were moved by UNHCR’s Office in Iraq to Al Waleed camp, which already hosts 1,400 Palestinian refugees.

Most Iranian Kurds refugees in Iraq live in the Kawa settlement set up by the agency and the Kurdistan Regional Government in 2006, following the closure of a camp in Anbar.

However, this group of 186 refugees fled to the border village of Trebil, creating challenges for UNHCR, which was providing them with basic assistance, and for the Iraqi Government, which provides security. Authorities had set a 5 July 2009 deadline for them to leave the no-man’s land and relocate to Al Waleed.

“Their previous location, which was very difficult to access, created limitations for how far we could go in providing support,” said Daniel Endres, UNHCR Representative in Iraq, voicing hope that the agency will be better able to provide a better standard of living and basic needs – such as food, water, sewage, education and health services – to the refugees in Al Waleed.

“Living in a tent in the desert is difficult and UNHCR will continue to search for more durable solutions for this group, as well as for the Palestinian refugees who already reside there,” he added.

Iraq currently hosts 40,000 refugees, most of whom are Palestinians, but also include Turkish Kurds and Iranian Kurds. The majority of them are sheltering in camps and settlements, with UNHCR providing protection and basic assistance while exploring longer-term solutions.

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