3 May 2019 - Although the military defeat of Da’esh in Iraq was announced in December 2017, more than 1.6 million Iraqis remain displaced. With that alarming statistic in mind, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq, Ms. Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, travelled to Ninewa and Dohuk governorates to assess the situation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in protracted displacement and to meet with authorities at local and governorate level as well as community and other leaders.
SRSG Hennis-Plasschaert visited Hassan Sham IDPs Camp and met with the camp management and residents. In an open-hearted conversation, residents explained the problems they face in their daily lives as well as the obstacles that prevent them from returning to their hometowns. She also met with the Governor of Dohuk, Mr. Farhad Saleem Atrushi, to discuss the challenges the governorate faces to continuously host large numbers of IDPs, many of whom are Yezidis who face a range of serious obstacles to their return home such as an unstable security situation including clashes between armed groups and checkpoint harassment, damaged and contaminated houses, inadequate basic services, as well as discrimination. SRSG Hennis-Plasschaert: “Obstacles are varied and often complex, painfully resulting in stalled returns on the ground”.
Before heading to Sinjar, the Special Representative called on Baba Sheikh, the Yezidi Supreme Spiritual Leader and member of the Yezidi Spiritual Council, and other Council members in Shekhan. Soon after, SRSG Hennis-Plasschaert made her way to Mount Sinjar to further discuss the challenges and obstacles with community leaders and members. “The Yezidis have suffered immensely during the reign of Da’esh, who committed untold atrocities in their attempt to annihilate the community. I was shocked to see that now, nearly five years after the capture of Sinjar by Da'esh and the area’s subsequent liberation, many people are still living in tents, on the very mountain top they fled to at the onset of the terror campaign,” the Special Representative said, adding that all internally displaced people in Iraq deserve our support.
“In August the world will commemorate the horrific events of five years ago. A single administration and the provision of security and services is the very basis for the reconstruction of Sinjar. A continued failure to provide these, is a travesty of justice and creates the perfect breeding ground for a new wave of violence and instability. With this in mind, I call upon the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government to consult with the local leadership in Sinjar district and to establish stable governance and security structures without delay, and so facilitate the reconstruction of affected areas and the return of displaced persons from Sinjar,” Ms. Hennis-Plasschaert said.
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