£9m from UK for Iraqis Refugees

UNHCR supports 130,000 Iraqis taking the first steps on the road to recovery, thanks to funds from the UK Department for International Development

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, completes a year-long series of activities this month, supporting 130,000 vulnerable Iraqis as they take the first steps on the road to recovery, thanks to the generous donation of £9 million from the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

With these funds, UNHCR was able to reach approximately 90,000 people with cash assistance, and support 40,000 people to obtain the legal documents that are essential for them to access social welfare services provided by the Iraqi government.

The recent conflict cast a long shadow across Iraq. As the country begins to recover, the challenges faced by millions of people diversify. Although different to the situation endured during the years of extremist control and conflict, the current problems are no less acute for the people facing them.

By promoting self-sufficiency, reducing the burden of debt and encouraging reintegration into existing social mechanisms, programmes like cash assistance and access to legal documentation help to lay the groundwork for longer-term recovery.

“The UK continues to stand by vulnerable Iraqis affected by the devastating conflict with Da’esh,” said Mr. Jim Carpy, Head of DFID Iraq. “Through UNHCR’s programme, UK aid is providing families displaced by conflict with cash assistance, allowing them to buy food and other essential items, re-build their lives, and ultimately return home when it is safe to do so. Our support to displaced people – including many female-headed households – offers them dignity while empowering them to prioritise their own needs in a flexible and cost-effective way.”

“Cash assistance and access to new and replacement documents are crucial for Iraqis making the jump from crisis to recovery,” said Mr. Bruno Geddo, UNHCR’s Representative in Iraq. “The first step can be the hardest to take, and we must continue to stand by the people of Iraq as they start the long journey to peace and stability. UNHCR is grateful to DFID for its long standing support on cash assistance. At a time when global interest in Iraq is diminishing, I urge key donors to maintain the support they have so generously provided throughout this critical time. There is no quick fix for Iraq, and underfunding could severely impact many vulnerable people still unable to return home in a safe and sustainable way.”

(Source: UN)

UNHCR welcomes New Donation from Finland

UNHCR welcomes the generous donation of 1.5 million euros from the Government of Finland. The new funds will help UNHCR support vulnerable Iraqis and Syrian refugees in a rapidly changing context.

A year on from the end of fighting in Mosul, the situation in Iraq is increasingly complex.

While the country recovers from conflict, the needs of Iraqis diversify. Almost 3.9 million people displaced by the recent conflict returned to their homes and are restarting their lives. Children are back at school, water and electricity networks are functioning, and devastated communities are seeing the shoots of regrowth. In places hard-hit by the conflict, the conditions for sustainable return are not yet met. Assistance for the 2 million internally displaced Iraqis and the communities that host them must continue for some time to come to discourage people from returning home too soon.

In addition, around 700 people cross the border every month to escape the fighting in Syria that shows no sign of abating.

To meet diversifying needs, UNHCR provides support over a broadening spectrum. From comprehensive humanitarian assistance in camps to community-based projects to promote social cohesion in slowly reforming communities; from psychological assistance for survivors of gender-based violence to support in acquiring the new or replacement identification documents people need to access state social welfare benefits.

“Iraq is an important partner to Finland and the EU,” said Ms. Päivi Laine (pictured), the Finnish Ambassador to Iraq. “We want to support the Iraqis to return home after years of conflict and continue their lives in home communities. It is remarkable that despite its own complicated situation Iraq is generous towards refugees from Syria. UNHCR has been for years a reliable partner and Finland is very satisfied to continue the co-operation in Iraq. The latest donation is 1.5 million euros.”

“The changing context in Iraq requires us to be ever-more nimble in our response,” said Mr. Bruno Geddo, UNHCR’s Representative in Iraq. “Even as cities are rebuilt and communities begin to flourish, hundreds of thousands of people struggle to make ends meet. Flexibility and creativity are at the heart of UNHCR’s work in Iraq, to consistently meet people’s changing needs. Unearmarked funding from donors like the Government of Finland enables us to be responsive and compassionate to the changing situation Iraqis face. With their ongoing support, we will stand with the people of Iraq until the job is done.”

(Source: UN)

Video: Angelina Jolie visits Devastated Mosul

From AFP. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie visits West Mosul, less than a year after the city’s liberation.

The visit marks Jolie’s 61st mission – and her fifth visit to Iraq – with the UN Refugee Agency since 2001.

She arrives in the city on the second day of the Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan.

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Angelina Jolie visits Domiz Refugee Camp

Statement by UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie at Domiz refugee camp in Iraq

In my country, when we speak of the Middle East we often focus on conflict and human suffering.

And it is true that countless families in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen are suffering from conflict they personally have no part in, instability they cannot control, and extremism that they reject.

But on this visit I have been reminded, as I am every time I am here, of the truly extraordinary dignity, resilience, warmth, generosity and grace of the people of the Middle East.

And I want to thank the people of Iraq for their generosity towards Syrian refugees and displaced people, and in particular the KRI government, which is setting a model for refugee protection.

I’m happy have been here on Eid al-Fitr, and I wish the Iraqi people, the Syrian people, and families across this region and beyond, Eid Mubarak, or Jaznawa Piroz Bit.

I am in Iraq to mark World Refugee Day next week. On Tuesday, UNHCR will publish new figures showing that the numbers of displaced people, and the duration of their exile, are the highest they have ever been. At the same time political solutions seem completely lacking, leaving a void that humanitarian aid cannot fill.

Words like “unsustainable” don’t paint a picture of how desperate these times are.

This is my third visit to Domiz camp in six years. The vast majority of its inhabitants are Syrian women and children.

Their lives are on hold indefinitely because of the war. They cannot go back, they cannot move forward, and each year they have less to live on.

I met two mothers this morning, both of them widows. They both lost their husbands while living as refugees, to medical conditions that could normally have been treated.

And now they are both caring for young aged five 5 and 7 who also have life-threatening medical conditions.

When UNHCR’s Syria response was only 50 per cent funded last year, and this year it is only 17 per cent funded, there are terrible human consequences. We should be under no illusions about this.

When there is not even the bare minimum of aid, refugee families cannot receive adequate medical treatment, women and girls are left vulnerable to sexual violence, many children cannot go to school, and we squander the opportunity of being able to invest in refugees so that they can acquire new skills and support their families.

This is the picture in Iraq, in Syria, and wherever in the world you find refugees and displaced people today.

The only answer is to end the conflicts that are forcing people to flee their homes – and for all governments to meet their responsibilities.

So this World Refugee Day I hope that people around the world will consider this larger picture:

What this level and length of displacement says about our world being dangerously out of balance.

What it will say about us if our response is to be selective about when we help, and when we are prepared to defend human rights.

And what it will mean for the future if we are unable to provide enough basic humanitarian support for displaced people and unable to find any solutions to conflicts at the same time.

That is the situation today, but it is not hopeless.

There are millions of refugees and displaced people who want to return home and to work and start over – as I saw in Mosul yesterday, where brick by brick, with their own hands, they are rebuilding their homes.

There are countries that are keeping their borders open to refugees, despite all the pressures and challenges.

There are aid relief workers who are stretching the aid resources, somehow, to minimize loss of life and provide protection.

And there are people around the world who are more committed than ever to defending human rights and basic values.

So on World Refugee Day this year I hope that we can find the strength to find a better way forward together: so that we move into a new era of preventing conflict and reducing instability, rather than simply struggling to deal with its consequences.

Thank you.

(Source: UNHCR)

UNHCR & Kuwait follow progress of Kuwait Fund Project in Iraq

UNHCR and Consul General of Kuwait follow progress of Kuwait Fund project in Iraq

UNHCR Coordinator for the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Ms. Monica Noro, and the Consul General of the State of Kuwait in Erbil, Dr. Omer Al-Kendari, visited Dohuk Governorate yesterday to observe the progress of the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) project to improve the living conditions of camp-based Syrian refugees in Dohuk and Erbil Governorates in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

The USD 10 million multi-year project aims to improve the shelter, water and sanitation conditions of over 73,000 Syrian refugees living in five camps in Dohuk and Erbil. It will upgrade 1,500 shelters and construct 150 new shelters, build a drainage channel and install outdoor solar lights in Domiz camps in Dohuk, and enhance protection by providing lighting at night in the camps.

The project also funds much-needed construction work to improve roads, and replace generator-run water pumps with solar water pumps in camps in Erbil. The upgrade of shelters in the Dohuk camps is almost complete, while construction work in the Erbil camps is expected to begin in May.

By reducing pressure on existing infrastructures and facilities, it contributes to improvements to the living conditions of the wider community. Effective collaboration with the Government enabled the implementation of the project.

Dr. Omer Al-Kendari said, “The State of Kuwait continues to affirm its humanitarian commitment to support the Syrian refugees in several countries. This support came from the humanitarian vision of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Leader of Humanitarian Action.”

“The State of Kuwait has adopted three conferences for donor countries and their participation in the Fourth Conference, in continuation of these humanitarian stands,” continued Dr. Al-Kendari. “We are visiting Al-Domiz camp today to see the development of services provided by the Kuwaiti Fund for Development in cooperation with the international partners represented by the UNHCR, which we are proud of this relationship, and of course with the support of the local government of Duhok Governorate represented by Mr. Farhad Al-Atrushi the Governor of Duhok. We hope that this cooperation will continue and that humanitarian projects will be implemented until the crises of the refugee brothers, whether in this camp or in other camps, ends.”

Acknowledging the fruitful collaboration between Kuwait and UNHCR, Ms. Monica Noro said: “Thanks to the generous contribution of KFAED thousands of Syrian refugees will benefit from enhanced protection, new and upgraded shelter facilities, additional livelihood opportunities, and reinforced camp infrastructures.” Ms. Noro added, “While funding for Syrian refugees in Iraq is critically low, the Kuwait contribution will offer a more sustainable solution to refugees and their hosting communities since conditions are not yet conducive for their return to Syria.”In 2018, the State of Kuwait is to date the largest donor for earmarked funding to the Syria situation response in Iraq.

(Source: United Nations)

New Career Opportunities in Iraq

By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraq:

(Source: UN)

New Career Opportunities in Iraq

By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraq:

(Source: UN)

New Mosul Housing Units from UNHCR, Japan

700 families in West Mosul receive housing units from UNHCR with funds from the people of Japan

Some 700 families in Mosul whose homes were destroyed in the recent conflict now have a new place to live. Temporary housing units were set up in 26 neighbourhoods in the west of the city, which saw extensive destruction in the battle to retake the city from extremist control.

During the battle for Mosul, almost 1 million Iraqis fled the fighting, seeking safety in nearby camps and host communities. After the fighting ended people began to return to the city, but for many citizens of Mosul, their homes were too badly damaged for them to return.

“So many displaced Iraqis want to go home and restart their lives,” said Bruno Geddo, UNHCR Representative in Iraq. “Rebuilding Mosul is an immense task that will take years. The housing units will provide shelter for up to three years to Iraqis returning to their communities. This will give them breathing space to make longer term plans.”

The people of Japan generously donated US$ 4.5 million to camp management services, cash assistance and temporary housing programmes to support displaced people and returnees in Mosul cope with the harsh winter conditions. Approximately 18,000 people benefited from the cash assistance, while 4,200 people are housed in the new housing units. The units were formally handed over to their new occupants by Mr Geddo at a ceremony in Mosul on 21 February.

H.E. Mr. Fumio Iwai, Ambassador of Japan to Iraq said, “We remain concerned about the unstable humanitarian situation in West Mosul even after its liberation from the battle, where many of the houses were completely destroyed or heavily damaged.” He added, “Japan strongly hopes the provision of housing units and cash assistance through this emergency grant assistance help the displaced and returnees secure their shelters and the basic needs as a response to the transitional phase for further stabilization and reconstruction of the city.”

“Thanks to the generosity of the Japanese people, 700 families now have a housing solution that keeps out the winter cold,” said Mr Geddo. “Although the emergency is now over, we have a responsibility to continue to support the people of Iraq. Sustainable return is a cornerstone of the transition towards a better future. We must not let them down at this critical juncture.”

(Source: UN)

Preventing Sexual Abuse and Exploitation in Iraq

As humanitarians, we have a collective responsibility to prevent and safely respond to sexual abuse and exploitation in Iraq,” said Jennifer Emond, a UNFPA specialist on the subject, during a training programme in Iraq.

Risk of sexual exploitation and abuse escalate during times of crisis. Community protection systems are disrupted when populations are displaced, and breakdown in law enforcement enable perpetrators to abuse with impunity. Under conditions of deprivation and fear, people with power – even aid workers – may coerce others into sexual relationships in exchange for food, medicine or safety.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and its partners are working to end these abuses through a range of actions known as “protection from sexual exploitation and abuse” (PSEA).

UNFPA and the World Food Programme (WFP) are together co-chairing the Iraq Network to Protect from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse. For the last two months, UNFPA and its PSEA network partners have been training humanitarian workers across Iraq on the principles of PSEA, including how to prevent abuses and respond if they occur.

“So far, we have trained up to 400 humanitarian workers in Sulaymaniyah, Dohuk, Baghdad, Basra, Soran and Erbil,” Ms. Emond said.

Those aid workers will themselves act as trainers, reaching out to hundreds more with critical information that can improve protections for vulnerable populations.

Improving reporting and protections

The trainings help humanitarian staff understand how sexual exploitation and abuse can occur in different scenarios, as well as the consequences for survivors, the community and all humanitarian actors. Participants are taught to understand the power imbalance between aid actors and vulnerable populations, and to realize what behaviour is not acceptable.

New Career Opportunities in Iraq

By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraq:

(Source: UN)