IDPs could not be returned by a decision, says KRG interior minister
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Minister of Interior Reber Ahmed on Tuesday responded to allegations by the Iraqi government that the Kurdistan Region is trying to exploit the situation of internally displaced persons (IDPs).
“The refugees did not come to the Kurdistan Region by a decision, so their return will not be done through another decision,” he said, adding the displaced population voluntarily chose the Kurdish region as a safe haven following the onset of the Syrian Civil War in 2011 and the ISIS offensive in 2014.
The minister's remarks came during the inauguration of the government’s Operation Room of the Joint Crisis Coordination Center (JCC), the Region’s crisis management entity that deals with both natural and man-made emergencies.
Speaking of the Iraqi federal government’s decision to close down the displacement camps across the country, Ahmed reiterated his government’s long-standing position to continue hosting nearly a million displaced population, including Yezidis and Syrian refugees.
The minister’s remarks were a response to the “accusations” that have been made by the Iraqi Ministry of Displacement and Migration against the Kurdistan Region, alleging the semi-autonomous region uses the displacement dossier for political gains.
“It is not the government’s duty to reduce or close the camps. It is the decision of the [displaced] people to go back or stay,” Ahmed added.
The Kurdistan Region has hosted nearly 2.5 million Syrian refugees and Iraqi IDPs following the conflicts that began in Syria in 2011.
The Kurdish government supports 70% of all the necessary costs of hosting the population, according to the KRG.