The top United Nations envoy in Iraq today stressed the need to ensure that internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country continue to receive the care and protection they need, while efforts are made to help them return to their areas of origin, resettle or integrate into host communities.
“Our collective responsibility is to ensure that the displaced are adequately cared for as long as they live in displacement, while measures are being taken to plan for their sustainable return, resettlement and local integration, the three key pillars of a durable solutions strategy,” said Martin Kobler, the Secretary-General's Special Representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).
“No durable solution can be achieved without the express consent of those on whose behalf it [the strategy] is being implemented,” Mr. Kobler told the High-Level Meeting on Displacement and Durable Solutions in Iraq, organized in Baghdad by the Iraqi Ministry of Development and Migration, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
The aim of the meeting was to brief the international community on the plight of the more than 1.3 million people who remain displaced in Iraq and discuss the way forward to finding a durable solution to the problem.
“By ensuring that those who fled the cruelty of violence that befell this country in the past years can safely return to their homes – or, where return is not possible, that they are given a free choice of resettling or integrating in a place of their choosing – we help restore their rights,” said Mr. Kobler. “We recognize them as citizens of this country, who are entitled to a life in dignity, like all other Iraqis.”
Despite the return of some one million IDPs since 2003, large numbers of displaced Iraqis remain unable or unwilling to return to their places of origin. Baghdad hosts the largest number ?,347 people or 57,194 families – registered with the Ministry of Displacement and Migration.