• Text size Normal size text | Increase text size by 10% | Increase text size by 20% | Increase text size by 30%

Iranian Kurd refugees - different destinies and destinations

News Stories, 26 November 2004

© UNHCR/K.Nagasaka
Iranian Kurd women learning to weave at Iraq's Al Tash refugee camp, which has since been caught up in fighting.

GENEVA, Nov 26 (UNHCR) Thirteen Iranian Kurd refugee families have arrived in northern Iraq after fleeing central Iraq's Al Tash camp last week, but the fate of some 1,400 others on the run and another 2,800 who remain at the camp is still unknown. Meanwhile, a separate group of Iranian Kurds has been resettled to Sweden.

Until recently, Al Tash camp, located near Ramadi about 50 km from Fallujah, hosted nearly 4,200 Iranian Kurd refugees. Last week, 1,400 of them fled the camp after generalised fighting around Ramadi, including an attack by armed men against the police post inside the camp.

"UNHCR, which has no staff on the ground, has been informed by our implementing partner in Al Tash that access to the camp is currently not possible because of the very difficult security conditions in the area," said UNHCR spokeswoman Jennifer Pagonis at a news briefing in Geneva on Friday.

The police station is now empty, and there is no one to provide security for the remaining 2,800 refugees believed to be still in Al Tash. Furthermore, these refugees will not have received their monthly food ration since the public distribution system, which targets both Iraqis and refugees in the area, has broken down because of the fighting.

"This is an extremely serious situation, and UNHCR is working with its implementing partner to find a way of accessing the camp as a matter of urgency," said Pagonis.

© UNHCR/A.Van Genderen Stort
One of the Iranian Kurd families that have been resettled to Sweden.

She noted that 13 families out of the 1,400 who fled the camp have arrived in Sulaymaniyah in northern Iraq, where a UNHCR Iraqi staff member is interviewing them to determine what happened in Al Tash and what their current needs are. The fate of the others who fled the camp is unknown.

Meanwhile, another group of Iranian Kurd refugees who had fled Iraq during the conflict of spring 2003 and spent the last year and half in the no man's land between Iraq and Jordan have left Amman for a new life in Sweden. A total of 202 refugees flew out of the Jordanian capital on Wednesday, while another 182 are scheduled to leave early next month.

"However, there are still almost 650 people stuck in no man's land, and UNHCR continues to advocate and lobby for resettlement for this group," said Pagonis.

• DONATE NOW •

 

• GET INVOLVED • • STAY INFORMED •

Iraq Crisis: Urgent Appeal

Make a gift now to help protect and assist those fleeing violence in Iraq.

Donate to this crisis

CAR Crisis: Urgent Appeal

Make a gift now to help protect and assist those fleeing violence in Central African Republic.

Donate to this crisis

Resettlement

An alternative for those who cannot go home, made possible by UNHCR and governments.

UNHCR Resettlement Handbook and Country Chapters

July 2011 edition of the UNHCR Resettlement Handbook.

Resettlement from Tunisia's Choucha Camp

Between February and October 2011, more than 1 million people crossed into Tunisia to escape conflict in Libya. Most were migrant workers who made their way home or were repatriated, but the arrivals included refugees and asylum-seekers who could not return home or live freely in Tunisia.

UNHCR has been trying to find solutions for these people, most of whom ended up in the Choucha Transit Camp near Tunisia's border with Libya. Resettlement remains the most viable solution for those registered as refugees at Choucha before a cut-off date of December 1, 2011.

As of late April, 14 countries had accepted 2,349 refugees for resettlement, 1,331 of whom have since left Tunisia. The rest are expected to leave Choucha later this year. Most have gone to Australia, Norway and the United States. But there are a more than 2,600 refugees and almost 140 asylum-seekers still in the camp. UNHCR continues to advocate with resettlement countries to find solutions for them.

Resettlement from Tunisia's Choucha Camp

Afghan Refugees in Iran

At a recent conference in Geneva, the international community endorsed a "solutions strategy" for millions of Afghan refugees and those returning to Afghanistan after years in exile. The plan, drawn up between Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and UNHCR, aims to support repatriation, sustainable reintegration and assistance to host countries.

It will benefit refugee returnees to Afghanistan as well as 3 million Afghan refugees, including 1 million in Iran and 1.7 million in Pakistan.

Many of the refugees in Iran have been living there for more than three decades. This photo set captures the lives of some of these exiles, who wait in hope of a lasting solution to their situation.

Afghan Refugees in Iran

Refugees prepare for winter in Jordan's Za'atari camp

Life in Jordan's Za'atari refugee camp is hard. Scorching hot in the summer and freezing cold in the winter, this flat, arid patch of land near the border with Syria was almost empty when the camp opened in July. Today, it hosts more than 31,000 Syrians who have fled the conflict in their country.

The journey to Jordan is perilous. Refugees cross the Syrian-Jordan border at night in temperatures that now hover close to freezing. Mothers try to keep their children quiet during the journey. It is a harrowing experience and not everyone makes it across.

In Za'atari, refugees are allocated a tent and given sleeping mats, blankets and food on arrival. But as winter approaches, UNHCR is working with partners to ensure that all refugees will be protected from the elements. This includes upgrading tents and moving the most vulnerable to prefabricated homes, now being installed.

Through the Norwegian Refugee Council, UNHCR has also distributed thousands of winter kits that include thermal liners, insulated ground pads and metal sheeting to build sheltered kitchen areas outside tents. Warmer clothes and more blankets will also be distributed where needed.

Refugees prepare for winter in Jordan's Za'atari camp

Iraq: Breaking BreadPlay video

Iraq: Breaking Bread

Shareef fled to Iraq a year ago to escape the violence in Syria. He opened a bakery, which has done great business. When he heard about a new wave of displacement in northern Iraq in August, he decided to help those in need by providing bread.
Iraq: Moving to a New Camp in KhankePlay video

Iraq: Moving to a New Camp in Khanke

A new camp for displaced people is taking shape in the village of Khanke in Iraq's Kurdistan region, with the help of UNHCR and its partners. After weeks of uncomfortable living in the courtyard of an old public building, Chenar and her ethnic Yazidi family are looking forward to moving to the new facility.
Iraq: Massive UNHCR Aid OperationPlay video

Iraq: Massive UNHCR Aid Operation

The UN refugee agency is conducting a massive aid operation to assist some 500,000 Iraqis displaced by conflict in northern Iraq. It includes airlifts, and transport of aid by road and sea.