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Iraq: launching new trust fund, UN chief urges relocation of Champ Hurriya residents

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras (file photo)
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Iraq: launching new trust fund, UN chief urges relocation of Champ Hurriya residents

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on Member States to offer safe relocation for residents of Camp Hurriya, located near the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, and to contribute to a trust fund launched today to cover costs related to the relocation process.

“The Secretary-General is committed to resolving the situation faced by the former residents of Camp New Iraq (Ashraf) – now residents of Camp Hurriya (Liberty) – in accordance with international human rights and humanitarian standards,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said in a statement.

He added that the UN chief has taken note of the letters and other expressions of concern over the residents’ well-being and safety from parliamentarians, political figures, civil society groups, and private individuals.

Camp Hurriya has served as a transit facility for 3,174 people, most of them members of a group known as the People’s Mojahedeen of Iran, where a process to determine their refugee status is being carried out by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), and resettle them outside of the country, in line with an agreement signed in December 2011 between the UN and the Iraqi Government.

About 10 per cent of the camp’s residents now have offers to relocate to third countries.

Mr. Ban in today’s statement that relocation of the remaining residents to safe and secure locations outside of Iraq “is the only durable and sustainable solution” and encouraged Member States to “pick up the pace” of the relocation.

The UN is launching a Trust Fund initiative to cover costs relating to the relocation process, it was announced in the statement.

Mr. Ban also reiterates the continued responsibility of the Government of Iraq to ensure the safety and security of the residents during their stay in Camp Hurriya.

The previous Camp Ashraf had been attacked several times, including last month. Following that attack, the remaining residents were transferred to Camp Hurriya, but the circumstances of the attack remain obscure.