ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) on Monday welcomed Japan’s announcement of a further USD 13 million in funding to protect and assist Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), returnees, and Syrian refugees in Iraq.
Japan’s funding will help UNHCR work with local stakeholders and partners to support the targeted communities with cash assistance, quick impact projects, legal aid, and psychosocial prevention and response activities in response to sexual and gender-based violence, a UN statement said.
“Japan’s generous contribution demonstrates a commitment to supporting Iraq’s transition out of emergency and pave the way for solutions,” Ayman Gharaibeh, a UNHCR representative in Iraq, said.
“It will also support UNHCR’s efforts to reshape its strategic priorities to feed into the transition to stability while addressing the needs of Iraqi IDPs, returnees, and Syrian refugees across Iraq.”
With Japan’s support, UNHCR will be able to launch various quick impact projects for the benefit of around 18,000 individuals in 2019. Up to six quick impact projects are expected to improve and expand service facilities in out of camps situations across Iraq.
Also, up to 6,000 individuals will receive legal assistance services thanks to these funds. The additional funds from Japan will help UNHCR provide monthly cash assistance for over 6,953 vulnerable displaced families and 700 refugee families across the country, the UN agency stated.
Naofumi Hashimoto, Japan’s ambassador to Iraq, expressed his country’s commitment to providing necessary services to the vulnerable people.
“Japan has recently decided new assistance package for Iraq amounting to $63 million including this project as a contribution to IDPs, returnees, and Syrian refugees in meeting their basic needs,” Hashimoto said.
“With this package, the total amount of Japan’s assistance to the people affected by the crisis reaches $500 million.”
Japan has been one of the key humanitarian contributors to help and enhance the lives of IDPs and refugees in Iraq over the past few years.
There are currently over 1.8 million Iraqis who remain displaced. The return of IDPs to areas of origin increased at a steady rate in 2018 and is likely to continue in 2019, but many among them face constrained access to basic services and security.
Iraq in general and the Kurdistan Region, in particular, continue to host vast amounts of Syrian refugees who number around 252,500 people.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany