ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – A Kurdish official on Monday asked the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to provide humanitarian assistance to people in the Kurdistan Region who were displaced during the assaults of Khurmatu and Kirkuk.
Following the Kurdistan Region’s referendum on independence held on Sep. 25, the Federal Government of Iraq imposed a set of collective punitive measures on the people of the region.
Banning international flights to or from the Kurdistan Region’s airports was one of the earliest sanctions carried out by Baghdad, a move which has considerably affected the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.
Humanitarian aid to over 1.5 million refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) has also been affected, prompting various organizations to warn of the consequences the ban has on displaced and vulnerable people.
On Monday, the UNHCR Coordinator for the Kurdistan Region Monica Noro met with the head of the Kurdistan Region’s Department of Foreign Relations (DFR), Falah Mustafa in Erbil.
Noro highlighted the issues facing the delivery of humanitarian assistance to IDPs and refugees in the Kurdistan Region as a result of the flight ban imposed by Baghdad, according to the DFR press office.
She explained that IDPs who returned to Mosul are currently encountering multiple obstacles, namely the lack of basic services.
Following the Oct. 16 attack and takeover of Kirkuk province and other disputed territories by Iraqi Forces and Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militias, over 170,000 people from Kirkuk and Khurmatu were forcibly displaced to the Kurdistan Region cities.
Mustafa requested the UNHCR to provide more aid to Kirkuk and Khurmatu IDPs, stating the Kurdistan Region was going through an even more strained financial crisis and was unable to provide sufficient assistance to those displaced.
He also admonished the Federal Government of Iraq for not providing aid to IDPs and refugees residing in the Kurdistan Region.
Ties between Erbil and Baghdad have considerably deteriorated since the independence vote. Both sides agree that tensions can be resolved peacefully through dialogue, but the talks have yet to start.
Editing by Nadia Riva