Kurdish PM reaffirms commitment to shelter refugees amid economic strain

Kurdish PM reaffirms commitment to shelter refugees amid economic strain

Shafaq News/ Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region Masrour Barzani reiterated, on Wednesday, that the Region will continue to serve as a safe haven for those fleeing oppression and terrorism.

Speaking at the ceremony for the announcement of guiding principles for managing refugee affairs in the Kurdistan Region, Barzani emphasized, "For many years, the Kurdistan Region has hosted hundreds of thousands of refugees from neighboring countries and internally displaced persons (IDPs) without any discrimination."

He noted that "the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) supports the voluntary return of all IDPs and refugees and the normalization of conditions in their home areas."

Barzani acknowledged the challenges faced during this period, stating, "We have been dealing with a difficult situation and an economic crisis, but despite this, the KRG has taken on the responsibility of managing dozens of camps, with the majority of the burden falling on Kurdistan."

The Prime Minister highlighted that "the Kurdistan Region today shelters hundreds of thousands of refugees and IDPs who have sought refuge in the Region due to deteriorating security and instability in their home countries."

"We have tried, within our financial capabilities, to provide basic services to refugees and IDPs such as schools, healthcare, and essentials for daily life," Barzani said.

He expressed hope that the federal government would provide more support to serve the refugees and IDPs better.

The Kurdistan Region has historically served as a sanctuary for IDPs due to its relative stability and economic development.

Significant waves of displacement occurred following the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq and the 2014 rise of ISIS, with the Region becoming a primary destination for those fleeing conflict, including many from Nineveh and Sinjar.

As of 2023, Kurdistan hosts approximately 1.1 million IDPs, comprising a diverse mix of ethnicities and religions.

IDPs reside in both camps and urban areas, facing challenges in accessing services and employment.

KRG, in collaboration with international organizations, provides essential support, but the influx has strained local resources.

IDPs also face legal and bureaucratic hurdles, complicating their integration into the local economy.

While the KRG and international agencies work to address immediate needs, sustainable solutions require ongoing international support, comprehensive policies, and efforts to promote social cohesion.

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