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Iraq: High Commissioner appoints Special Envoy

Briefing notes

Iraq: High Commissioner appoints Special Envoy

3 June 2003

At the request of UN High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers, Dennis McNamara travelled to Baghdad on Sunday to serve as his Special Envoy for Iraq. Mr. McNamara, who currently serves as UNHCR's Inspector General, will work under the leadership of the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative (SRSG) in Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello. He will assist the SRSG to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1483 particularly in regards to the voluntary return of refugees, return and reintegration programmes for internally displaced persons in conjunction with our partner agencies, and the protection of Iraq's existing refugee communities and stateless persons.

UNHCR currently has teams in all three main regions of Iraq, where we have been providing assistance to Iranian refugee communities in the east and monitoring their repatriation, as well as delivering aid to Palestinian refugees who have been forced from their homes in Baghad. In the north we have been working to review the needs of possible returnees to that region, as well as re-establishing assistance to the Makhmour camp.

In Iraq, we are working closely with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the International Committee of the Red Cross due to our interlocking responsibilities to promote human rights and co-operate on the human rights of refugees, returnees and displaced persons. We also have an important partnership and division of labour with the International Organisation for Migration within and outside Iraq regarding return issues, as well as with UNOPS and UN-Habitat on reintegration and shelter issues.