Rising numbers of internally displaced people in Iraq
The European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA) is deeply alarmed by the rising numbers of internally displaced people (IDP) in Iraq, which has reached three million, and the way the authorities are dealing with this crisis.
Reports from Iraq indicate that the Shi’ite dominated government is closing its doors to Sunni IDPs, restricting the regions where they can seek safety. Following the recent fall of Ramadi, the provincial capital of Anbar, panicked families have fled ISIS forces in a desperate attempt to seek refuge in Baghdad. However Iraqi forces and Shi’ite militiamen have prevented the escape of these people towards Baghdad, obstructing their passage at various security checkpoints.
According to figures from the United Nations in Iraq, around 55,000 people have fled Ramadi following ISIS attacks, most of them fleeing towards Baghdad.
“By restricting the regions where the Sunni residents of Anbar Province can seek safety, the Iraqi government is effectively contributing to the acceleration of sectarian tensions,” said Struan Stevenson, President of EIFA.
The European Iraqi Freedom Association calls on Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi immediately to lift the restrictions on IDPs in Iraq and to undertake all necessary measures to develop a proper humanitarian response to protect and assist the vulnerable Anbar residents.
Struan Stevenson is President of the European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA). He was President of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq from 2009-2014.