Update No. 4
Camp New Iraq (formerly Camp Ashraf) residents
and the determination of their international protection needs*
- Pursuant to the Memorandum of Understanding between the United Nations and the Government of Iraq on 25 December 2011 on the situation of the residents of Camp New Iraq (formerly Camp Ashraf), the large majority have now been transferred, on a voluntary basis, to the temporary transit location, Camp Hurriya (Liberty), Baghdad. UNHCR continues to process the approximately 3,200 applications for international protection received from the residents, and to encourage States to offer long-term solutions for the residents, including resettlement and/or relocation to third countries.
- Camp residents who have submitted requests for international protection are formally asylum-seekers under international law. In the absence of a national system of adjudication in Iraq, UNHCR is considering these requests on an individual basis in an appropriate procedure. Individual interviews are taking place in a safe and neutral location, and in full confidentiality. Transmittal to States of the cases of those with determined international protection needs is ongoing. Pending their relocation outside Iraq, the residents are being processed in Camp Hurriya, which is a temporary transit location, as set out in the above-noted Memorandum of Understanding.
- International law requires that asylum-seekers must be able to benefit from basic protection of their security and well-being. This includes protection against any expulsion or return to the frontiers of territories where their lives or freedom would be threatened (the non-refoulement principle) as well as treatment in accordance with basic humanitarian standards. The primary responsibility for ensuring respect for these standards lies with the Government of Iraq. Freedom of movement is the most desirable state while processing takes place.
- UNHCR, together with the Government of Iraq, UNAMI and other concerned actors, including importantly the international community, remains committed to finding peaceful solutions to this long-standing problem. Accordingly, States have been called upon to actively realize solutions outside Iraq on a humanitarian basis, and so far a small number of residents have departed Iraq.
13 December 2012
* This document will be updated as needed.