Monday, 12 February 2018 10:12

Press statement by Mr. Bruno Geddo, UNHCR Representative in Iraq, on the voluntary, safe and sustainable return of displaced Iraqis

Baghdad, Iraq - 12 February 2018: “For UNHCR, the Kuwait conference offers a key forum to reiterate the importance of voluntary, safe and sustainable return of Iraqi IDPs and raise resources to support the government’s efforts towards this goal. This in turn is an integral part of wider plans by the UN system to support the Iraqi authorities as they rebuild the country.

Large-scale fighting is over, but the legacy of conflict remains. The events that unfolded during the years of extremist control and the military campaign to remove them left a dramatic imprint on the landscape of Iraq, and on the psyche of its people. The scars left during these years lie across the country: proud cities are heavily damaged, communities are scattered, and a generation of children are at risk of being lost. Some 2.6 million people are still displaced. For Iraq to move forwards people must be able to return to their homes. Some 3.3 million Iraqis have already returned, often in difficult circumstances. We must remember that return is not just going back to a house, it is going back to a community.

Sustainable return is not just about bricks and mortar. Rebuilding and restoring communities is a complex effort, covering everything from clearing explosive hazards to repairing damage to infrastructure to restoring basic services, and facilitating social cohesion so that communities can again begin to flourish. Thus safe and sustainable return is a major contributing factor to longer term stability and peace.

Iraq is turning a crucial corner in its turbulent history. The country rid itself of ISIL, an enormous achievement that the international community must fully recognize. Now the authorities are turning towards the huge task of rebuilding its towns and cities, institutions, and communities.

To support Iraq as it transitions out of crisis UN agencies have devised a two-year Recovery and Resilience Programme. To carry this programme forward we must ensure there are adequate resources for the task.

The Kuwait Conference is a unique opportunity to present our plans to donor countries and to encourage the private sector to invest further. We have a collective responsibility to continue to support Iraq at this crucial stage. We must not leave the people of Iraq in the lurch because war is over. This vital job cannot be left half done.”


For more information contact:
Kate Pond
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+964 780 920 7286 (Baghdad)

Amira Abd El-Khalek
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+964 7726163729 (Erbil)

Mustafa Aldalawi
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+964 7801958468 (Baghdad)

Rasheed H Rasheed
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+964 7507130014 (Dahuk)

Additional Info

  • Agency: UNHCR

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