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Iraq migration ministry denies forced repatriation of refugees


On Tuesday, Iraq’s Migration and Displacement Ministry under-secretary Jassem al-Attiya said to Radio Sawa that refugees could not be forced to return to their home areas recaptured from Islamic State militants. “The government will not force anyone to return at present”, the official said, adding that “remains committed to the federal government’s decision which prevents the forced repatriation of refugees”. However, Jassem al-Attiya expressed his “astonishment” over the determination of some refugees to remain in camps despite the liberation of their regions. The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights and the U.S. embassy in Iraq have recently recommended the Iraqi government to ensure that repatriation be run based on the refugees’ will, warning against forcing them to return to Anbar and other regions. Iraqi authorities had revealed plans to repatriate all refugees before this year’s end. According to the United Nations at least five million people have been displaced since Islamic State militant imposed their control over large areas of Iraq in 2014, proclaiming a self-styled “Islamic Caliphate”.


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