The ongoing closures of Iraq’s displaced persons camps on short notice is forcing some residents into homelessness and poverty, Human Rights Watch said today.
Human Rights Watch has repeatedly said that the authorities should allow freedom of movement for residents of camps, which in some cases have functioned like open-air prisons. The government’s renewed action to facilitate documentation for families is a positive step toward this goal. But the authorities should not force camp residents out without first ensuring they have alternative access to shelter, food, water, health care, and other basic services in a safe and secure environment.
“Reintegrating families who have spent years in camps back into Iraqi society so they can start to lead a normal life is a positive step.” said Belkis Wille, senior crisis and conflict researcher at Human Rights Watch. “But the current approach of forcing people out of camps that have provided them with food, shelter, and security for years, often with only 24 hours’ notice, makes them even more vulnerable.”