Iraq: The newsletter - May and Jun 2006
The International Organization for Migration's (IOM) Chief of Mission, Mr. Rafiq Tschannen and Programme Manager, Capacity Building Programmes, Mr. Zeynal Hajiyev visited Baghdad from June 18th to 25th 2006, where they met with the new Minister for Displacement and Migration Dr. Abdul Samid Rahman Sultan, new Minister of Interior Mr. Jewad Bolani, other Iraqi o.cials, o.cials from American, British, and Japanese embassies in Baghdad, as well as UN personnel to discuss migration management, Internally Displaced Persons, and the status of IOM's current programmes in Iraq.
Mr. Tschannen and Mr. Hajiyev met with .Dr. Abdul Samid Rahman Sultan and his advisers in the Iraq Reconstruction Management O.ce (IRMO) at the US Embassy. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss means to improve performance and capacity building support to the Ministry of Displacement and Migration (MoDM). Also discussed was the basic draft law for the Ministry and the reservations IOM, IROM the UN community have against parts of it. It was agreed during the meeting to resume trainings and other capacity building activities for the Ministry o.cials carried out by IOM in cooperation with UNHCR, IRMO and other partners.
A meeting was held with Mr. Jewad Bolani and his Deputy to discuss recent activities and future plans between the Ministry of Interior (MoI) and IOM including border management assessment on selected land, sea and air border posts which was put on hold until the formation of the new government. Mr. Tschannen and Mr. Hajiyev visited also the training centre newly established with IOM assistance at MoI Department of Residence A.airs. The centre is designed to serve all departments within MoI dealing with immigration control and can be used for training of relevant sta. from other ministries as well. This visit was followed by separate meetings with Head of Department of Residence A.airs, Head of Deportation Department, MoI training o.cer in-charge at the training centre as well as IOM local sta. and consultants where important pending issues were discussed.
IOM delegation also met with O.ce Manager for the Secretary General of the Council of Ministers. The creation of an e.ective mechanism for the coordination of migration management functions within the Government of Iraq was the main discussion point of this meeting. Separate meetings were also held with Director General of Travel and Nationality at MoI and IRMO advisors for this Ministry to discuss the status of the new passport issuance system; with Head of Immigration and Residence Department, Iraqi National Intelligence Service, and his Deputy to discuss border information system currently being installed at border crossing points; and other meetings with o.cials from British and Japanese Embassies in Baghdad to discuss issues of common concerns.
IOM found the new Government of Iraq quite open to cooperation with International Organizations in general and IOM in particular. Iraqi o.cials seemed pleased that IOM visited them in Baghdad in the midst of the current security situation. Mr. Tschannen and Mr. Hajiyev managed to pass on information regarding IOM activities in Iraq to Iraqi and non-Iraqi o.cials and gain first-hand information about the situation on the ground; "such visits are extremely important and must be repeated regularly" concluded IOM Chief of Mission Mr. Tschannen.
Installing potable Water Project in Wassit
The instillation of a potable water project in Wassit Governorate, south of Baghdad, was successfully completed thanks to the joint e.orts of IOM and our partners on the ground. This comes as part of Community Assistance Projects IOM implements under the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Programme to bring long term solutions to vulnerable, displaced and host communities in Iraq.
This project provides potable water to the whole Badrah town and water trucking to two neighboring villages. More than 35,000 individuals are directly benefiting from this project. Approximately 1,466 IDP families and 450 refugee returnees are currently living in these locations. The project is expected to minimize water shortages, provide water for 20 years to come, reduce waterborne diseases, and fatalities and provide an easily accessible source of water for IDPs.
The Governorate appointed a specialist to supervise the implementation of the project and later maintain the project. This is a sign of commitment and dedication by the District Council and a reassurance that the project will indeed be sustainable and developed even further in the future.
A measure of success for the programme was felt on the first day of distribution, which was understood to be very much a testing day. More than 1,200 people, each came to collect 20 liters of water. A total of 24,020 liters of potable water was produced, reflecting a success beyond results anticipated. Unexpectedly and unplanned, the project also resulted restoring confidence in local authorities by the population. The success of this project is directly related to the support received from the local authorities who proved their commitment to the wellbeing of citizens in Wassit Governorate.
The perceived success of this programme has already persuaded the authorities to approach IOM and implementing partner with a view to replicate the programme in another location which has experienced a significant influx of IDPs lately who have no water supply of any type.
Solving the lack of potable water, enhancing health and hygiene, gaining the good opinion of government and population alike, and the enthusiasm of local authorities for further projects of the sort has overweighed the critical security problems in Iraq making it an experience that was worthwhile.
INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS (IDP)
The Internally Displaced Person (IDP) Programme has made a transition from IDP relief, assessment an registration activities to addressing the needs of IDPs and the communities within which they reside through Community Assistance Projects (CAPs). The IDP programme is an implementing partner of the O.ce of U.S Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), the U.S. Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM), the Government of the Netherlands, the Government of Denmark, and the European Commission Humanitarian Aid O.ce (ECHO).
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