Iraqi Kurds support voluntary return of civilians to Eastern Mosul after ISIS expulsion

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) on Thursday called for more support for displaced civilians from Mosul, and called on civilians to return to their places of origin.

Since the start of the Mosul operation by the US-backed forces in Iraq in October 2016, the Kurdistan Region has received over 95,000 displaced civilians, but the Kurds now say it would be better for the displaced civilians to return to their homes.

“As two-third of Mosul city has been liberated and we are confidently eliminating the presence of ISIS, it is our priority to ensure the safe, voluntary and dignified return of the displaced populations to their homes,” The Kurdistan Regional Government’s Ministry of Interior said on Thursday.

“The KRG does not have any intention whatsoever to close the camps where the displaced populations are hosted. Such measures would be in stark contrast to our policy,” the Kurdish government said, citing international law.

“However, we very much welcome the return of IDPs to their places of origin and we will continue to do everything in our power to support and facilitate their voluntary return upon their free choice,” the KRG added.

The Iraqi Kurds have welcomed all displaced civilians since the invasion of ISIS in June 2014, hosting over 1.8 million displaced persons.

“For all those families that resorted to the KRI [Kurdistan Region of Iraq], we have provided security, protection and services without discrimination based on ethnicity, religious background, color or political affiliations for almost 1.8 million IDPs and refugees,” the KRG said.

“Our policy has been consistent throughout this humanitarian crisis and we will maintain this policy as it is in line with our vision for a safe return of people to their homes,” the Kurdish government added.

Therefore, the KRG called for more financial and aid support from the Iraqi central government and the international community in order to provide assistance to IDPs.

“We recognize our limited capacity to manage the humanitarian crisis on our own and therefore, we appeal to the Government of Iraq and the International Community to sustain the provision of humanitarian assistance,” the KRG said.

Moreover, the KRG urged for more basic delivery service to the displaced families who have not yet decided to go back to their places of origin. “Until they feel confident that the conditions for returning home are properly established,” the KRG added.

“As some of IDPs are returning home, I call for a coordinated effort between relevant authorities to ensure a well-planned, safe and secure return,” Falah Mustafa, the head of the KRG’s foreign relations said.

Image: Reuters

Article: ARA News