UN representative visits Kirkuk to discuss IDPs and elections

Kirkuk, 12 November 20 – UN representative Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert visitng Rakan Jibouri – photo: Karwan Salehi

Karwan salehi - Kirkuk

UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) urges Iraqi authorities to not press the displaced people to return, and to create a suitable environment in Kirkuk for the upcoming elections.

Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, special representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq, visited Kirkuk today (12 Nov. 20) and met with acting governor Rakan Jibouri.

In a press conference, Hennis-Plasschaert said that to ensure a successful election, proper conditions must be created in Kirkuk province. She emphasized the importance of the elections and called it an important step for Iraq.

Iraqi parliamentary elections are to be held in July 2021.

She also talked about the government’s plans to return IPDs to their home regions, and said that they should not be pressed and returning must be on a voluntary basis.

press conference by Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert and Rakan Jibouri

The government has plans to close down all the IDP camps across the country by the end of the year, once all IDPs have been returned to their home regions, which according to the government will be on a voluntary basis.

At the press conference, Governor Rakan Jibouri said that they are working on closing Yahyawa camp, which shelters IDPs from Nineveh province, and that they will find a suitable solution for the more than 1,300 IDP who reside at Laylan camp.

There are currently only two camps left open in Kirkuk, which house about 2,000 families in total.

Jibouri requested an increase in aid from the UN for Kirkuk, especially for the areas where damage has been done due to the ISIS war.

He also expressed support for reconciliation among the components of Kirkuk under the auspices of the UN, and deemed UN oversight necessary for the elections.

The governor also mentioned the political prisoners in the Kurdistan Region, especially Arabs who have been detained in the past several years in Kirkuk, and requested their handover to courts under Federal Government jurisdiction.

A number of Arab detainees have been handed over to federal authorities in Kirkuk by KRG authorities.

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