Iraq: UN official calls for better access to services for the internally displaced

Special Representative Martin Kobler. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

11 March 2012 – The United Nations top envoy in Iraq today called for improved access to basic services for people living in the Al-Manar camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs), stressing that children in particular must be able to receive an education while living in the informal settlements.

“An uneducated child today will be an uneducated adult tomorrow, hampering the development of the country in the future. Children's access to education must be ensured,” Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, Martin Kobler, stressed during a visit to the informal settlement for IDPs in the Al-Dora neighbourhood in the Karkh district in Baghdad.

“It is unacceptable that children in informal settlements like Al-Manar do not have access to education,” he said.

The Al-Manar camp houses 3,571 people, making up 749 families. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than a third of the families in the camp have no income, accommodations are overcrowded, there is no sewage network and no clean drinking water, and 50 per cent of the children do not attend school.

During his visit to the Al-Manar camp with UNHCR representatives, Mr. Kobler met with many families who, despite the efforts of the Government to alleviate their suffering, continue to live in a slum-like area without access to basic services.

In a news release issued by UNHCR, the agency said it has been responding to the urgent needs of the families through interventions that seek to ensure they have access to protection safety nets.

In addition, UNHCR and its partners are working with central and local authorities to address the needs of the people in the settlements.


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