Minister of Migration and The Displaced, Ivan Fa’iq, and other officials in Khanaqin refute rumours spread in camps that IDPs would forcefully be returned.
During a visit to Khanaqin district on June 29, the Minister for Migration and The Displaced met with several internally displaced families and local officials in charge of affairs concerning the displaced to discuss issues impeding the displaced from returning to their hometowns.
Ivan Fa’iq told reporters (including KirkukNow’s) during a press conference that “the internally displaced will not be forced in any way to return, but it will be completely out of their own will. And conditions of their home regions must be livable for them to return to.”
According to the Ministry of Migration and The Displaced, there are nearly 7000 IDP families in Khanaqin district, and 800 of those families live in the camps Alwan 1 and Alwan 2.
“We heard that they plan to force us to return [to our home regions]. My home is destroyed, we are left with nothing. There is no electricity, no water [in our home region], so how can we go back to live there if we are not going to be compensated?” Said Ali Abdulnajm
Abdulnajm comes from Sinsul, Miqdadiya (Sharaban) region in Diyala province, and has been living in Khanaqin as IDP for several years. He expressed his discontent to KirkukNow about the unfulfilled promises by officials: “Our request is that they find a permanent solution for us, provide services, compensate us, so that we can return home.”
Sinsul area contains about 30 villages, and is mostly desolate now due to attacks by the so-called Islamic State (IS) and lack of services.
Misaq Albulhamad, director of Alwan 1 IDP cam told KirkukNow: “The Minister agrees with the IPDs that their return must be voluntary.”
He added that there are promises made to improve the condition of the IDPs through compensations, normalization of life and reconstruction of regions previously controlled by IS.
He said that their camp alone shelters 609 families. 50% of them come from Miqdadiya, 35% from Sa’diya, and 15% from Jalawla area.
The Ministry of Migration and The Displaced had previously stated on numerous occasions that they have plans to evacuate the IPD camps in 2020.
Ali Ghazi Agha, director of Khanaqin’s Office of Migration and the Displaced told KirkukNow that he had discussed with the Minister the hurdles preventing the return of the IDPs.
Conditions of the IPDs have worsened in the start of the Corona epidemic. KirkukNow has previously reported that the camps are cut off from urban centres and they need basic services.
After seeing the IDPs, the Minister said during his press conference that the main hurdles standing in the way of the return of the IDPs is lack of security, unemployment and tribal disputes, and that they will make serious efforts to remove some of those hurles.
From mid-2014 to 2017 more than 29000 families in the provinces of Diyala, Salahadin, Mosul and Anbar fled to Khanaqin due to the war ignited by IS.