The Kurdistan Regional Government’s Ministry of Interior issued the following statement on the return of the Internally displaced persons to their places of origin in the liberated areas in the Nineveh plain and the city of Mosul:
“Since the “Free Mosul” operations started on the 17th of October 2016, KRG and its various institutions have played a lead role in receiving and providing life-saving assistance and shelter to the civilians that have fled the war zones and ISIS-controlled territories to seek refuge in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Since the start of the operations, our region has received more than 95,000 people and all of them are cared for.
As two-third of Mosul city has been liberated and we are confidently eliminating the presence of ISIS, it is our priority to ensure the safe, voluntary and dignified return of the displaced populations to their homes.
KRG holds a clear and consistent position that return must take place under safe, voluntary and dignified conditions for the displaced populations. We will work hard to ensure a successful and transparent return process with the best interest of the civilian population in mind. In respect with International Humanitarian Law and in order to guarantee the safe, voluntary and principled return of displaced populations, the KRG does not have any intention whatsoever to close the camps where the displaced populations are hosted. Such measures would be in stark contrast to our policy. However, we very much welcome the return of IDPs to their places of origin and we will continue to do everything in our power to support and facilitate their voluntary return upon their free choice.
KRG opened its doors for the displaced civilians since the invasion of ISIS in June 2014. For all those families that resorted to the KRI, we have provided security, protection and services without discrimination based on ethnicity, religious background, color or political affiliations for almost 1.8 million IDPs and refugees. Our policy has been consistent throughout this humanitarian crisis and we will maintain this policy as it is in line with our vision for a safe return of people to their homes.
We recognize our limited capacity to manage the humanitarian crisis on our own and therefore, we appeal to the Government of Iraq and the International Community to sustain the provision of humanitarian assistance and basic service delivery to the IDP families who have not yet decided to go back to their places of origin until they feel confident that the conditions for returning home are properly established.”