Update No. 8
Camp New Iraq (formerly Camp Ashraf) residents
and the processing of their cases for solutions*
- It has been more than two and a half months since the September 1, 2013 attack on Camp New Iraq (formerly Camp Ashraf), in which 52 residents died in tragic circumstances, but to date there has been no significant progress made towards the relocation of the former camp residents. In deploring the deterioration of the security situation demonstrated by the attack, UNHCR calls upon the Government of Iraq to take all possible measures to ensure the safety of residents and upon governments of third countries to admit residents and to offer long term solutions. We also remain gravely concerned about the fate of the seven missing former residents of Camp New Iraq.
- Since 2011, UNHCR, together with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), has been engaged in an effort to find relocation opportunities outside Iraq for some 3,200 former residents of Camp New Iraq. Encouraged by the willingness of camp residents to cooperate with the interview process, UNHCR has scaled up the staffing of its operation in an effort to complete the remaining assessments for those whose cases have not yet been prepared.
- Despite numerous appeals, very few countries have come forward with relocation places. Following a meeting with the resettlement countries which took place in Geneva on 2 July 2013, UNHCR distributed all the finalized cases of residents who have been found to be in need of international protection to some 20 countries. So far only a modest number of States have made offers for consular readmission, resettlement or humanitarian admission. In total, UNHCR has been able to secure the relocation to third countries of a total of 300 residents.
- International law requires that asylum-seekers must be able to benefit from protection against expulsion or forced return to the frontiers of territories where their lives or freedom would be threatened as well as treatment in accordance with basic humanitarian standards – including, most importantly, their security. 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.
19 November 2013
*This document will be updated as needed