As temperatures dip below freezing, the status of Iranian Kurdish refugees on the Jordan-Iraq border is becoming a major cause of concern for Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the IRIN reported on Tuesday. The refugees, who fled their Anbar refugee camp in January of 2005 as insurgent-led violence there escalated, have remained on the Iraqi side of the border. Despite the help of UNHCR, they have been denied entrance into Jordan.
HRW has even considered resettlement opportunities in Sweden, New Zealand, and Ireland. However a large number of refugees have resettled into these countries following the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq. Recently, HRW drafted a proposal, which suggested moving the refugees to an officially recognized camp, Kawa, in northern Iraq, where other Iranian Kurdish refugees have previously settled. However, the refugees, intent on resettling in an independent Kurdistan, have rejected HRW’s proposal. Although UNHCR have explicated the third-country resettlement is not a right, representatives have also explained to the refugees that they will have greater prospects once they reach Kawa. Documentation of their plight, necessary supplies, and family reunification will all be foreseeable once they reach the official camp.
UNHRC and Iraqi NGOs have set up tents for the refugees along the Iraq-Jordan border, but it remains difficult for independent parties, such as UNHCR representatives, to access these regions. The area, referred to as “no man’s land” is quite isolated; the people are forced to rely on passing trucks on a daily basis for food, water, and generators to supply heat.
For the full article, click here.