Baghdad, 31 January 2012- Further steps have been achieved in the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the United Nations and the Government of Iraq on 25 December 2011 on a peaceful and humanitarian solution to the situation of the residents of Camp New Iraq (formerly Camp Ashraf).
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the UNAMI Human Rights Office have now confirmed that the infrastructure and facilities at Camp Liberty are in accordance with the international humanitarian standards stipulated in the MoU. “I am grateful to the UNHCR and the Human Rights team for their expertise. This brings us a step further in ensuring that proper conditions are in place for voluntary relocation of Camp New Iraq residents”, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq Martin Kobler said.
Additionally, UN monitors are ready to start round-the-clock human rights monitoring during the transport of residents from camp New Iraq as well as upon their arrival at camp Liberty. UNHCR is also ready to commence the refugee status determination as soon as residents start arriving to the camp.
It is now time for the Government of Iraq to organize the modalities of the transport from Camp New Iraq to Camp Liberty and other relevant issues with the residents. In this regard, SRSG Kobler requested the Iraqi authorities that their focal point engages with the residents. For this purpose, the UN stands ready to facilitate their efforts if requested.
“It is important that the MoU is implemented in letter and spirit. The MoU stands only for a peaceful solution and a voluntary relocation of Camp New Iraq residents”, SRSG Kobler said. “The United Nations' consistent position is that a violent outcome is unacceptable. The MoU paves the way for UNHCR to conduct the verification and Refugee Status Determination (RSD) processes, which is a necessary first step to resettle the residents in other countries and enjoy their freedom and liberty.” SRSG Kobler added.
The RSD process to be carried out by the UNHCR is key to finding permanent host countries for residents. “Member States have a crucial role in helping to resolve the situation of Camp New Iraq residents and I do urge them again to accept residents in their countries. This is a critical contribution to the humanitarian solution we are all seeking.”