Friday, 01 July 2016 23:25

UNHCR STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO STATEMENT BY THE IRAQI GOVERNMENT THAT FALLUJA FAMILIES COULD START TO RETURN HOME FROM 1 AUGUST

Baghdad,1 July 2016 - As a symbol of national reconciliation, the return of displaced Iraqis is a process of utmost importance to UNHCR. However, it requires conducive conditions on the ground. This is why UNHCR insists that the return process has to be carefully planned and carried out on the basis of the international humanitarian principles of voluntary, non-discriminatory, safe and sustainable returns.



While it is understandable that families want to return as early as possible, and many face harsh conditions in the displacement camps, it is important to ensure conditions are in place for that return to take place in safety and to be sustainable.

Like Ramadi, Falluja has to be cleared of explosives – bombs and IEDS. In the case of Ramadi, many families returned too early and many IED casualties were reported.

It is important that displaced families can make a choice about when they feel it is safe to return and are not forced into making a decision. Under the rule of ISIL, there was a high degree of control. The citizens of Falluja faced strict rules and regulations in terms of daily behaviour and movements.

We are aware that there has been a call from Anbar Governorate for education employees to resume work beginning on 12 July or forego their salaries. UNHCR is concerned that persons will be coerced into return before they feel it will be safe for them and their families to go home. Similarly, the authorities have asked for volunteers to participate in cleaning the city before citizens return in August. UNHCR is concerned about the safety of volunteers due to the risk of explosive hazards in retaken areas that are not completely cleared.

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Additional Info

  • Agency: UNHCR

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