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IDPs from Hawija Stranded on the Outskirts of Kirkuk

IDPs from Hawija Stranded on the Outskirts of Kirkuk

The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights (IOHR) stated that the local government in Kirkuk must allow internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Al Hawija district to enter the Province as soon as possible, rather than remaining stuck near Maktab Khalid area just west of Kirkuk.

 

The IOHR stated that IDPs who are still stranded in areas outside the city of Kirkuk will not be far from the dangers posed by ISIS. Keeping them stranded in areas that are unsafe, with no access to proper services, exacerbates their tragedy and puts them at risk of death.

 

Local sources in Kirkuk stated that local authorities had stopped the entry of IDPs who escaped from Hawija towards the city, through the Maktab Khalid crossing, which is considered a contact area between the Kurdish Peshmerga forces and ISIS."

 

A displaced man from Hawija in the village of Sultan Mar’i near Maktab Khalid said in an interview with IOHR: "A 70-year-old woman died on April 14, while four other children died of starvation and lack of medication." The displaced man, who spoke with IOHR via telephone, said: "Displaced families have been present for ten days on the border of Kirkuk in the Sultan Mar’i village near combat areas between the Peshmerga and ISIS."

 

Muayyad Azzawi, a relief activist, said: "An officer in the Peshmerga told us that the approval from the Kirkuk Governor's Office had not been obtained regarding the entry of families at the Maktab Khalid crossing, without mentioning the reasons. We explained to them the difficult living conditions of the stranded families, but received no response, and were instructed instead to wait for instructions by the authorities.”

 

Ra’ad Al-Dahlaki, Member of Parliament and Head of the Iraqi Parliament’s Migration and Displacement Committee, said: "Despite the constant demands and appeals to allow the entry of displaced families to the city through Maktab Khalid port, security forces have instructed that none of the displaced persons, numbering over 250, would be allowed to enter, possibly causing a humanitarian disaster.”

 

Alaa' Muhsin, a resident doctor from Hawija, said in an interview with IOHR: "The fate of children has been severely threatened. We recently heard about a mother who gave birth in the stranded area where the families are located now, near Maktab Khalid."

 

Abdullah al-Jubouri, a human rights activist said: "There is political exploitation of the crisis of the displaced families from Hawija, and there are no other logical reasons to keep them stranded in the open.”

 

The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights states that the local government in Kirkuk province must abide by Article 44 of the Iraqi Constitution, which allows Iraqis to travel freely within the country and abroad. In addition, the third UN Guiding Principle on Internal Displacement states that “Internally displaced persons have the right to request and to receive protection and humanitarian assistance from [national] authorities. They shall not be persecuted of punished for making such a request.”

 

 

IOHR called on the local government of Kirkuk to expedite the protection of displaced individuals fleeing from areas under ISIS control and to stop actions that may cause any delays in the entry of displaced individuals into safe areas, as they continue to be at risk.

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