• The High Commissioner has expressed his shock, and strongly condemned, the recent deadly attack on Camp Hurriya (Liberty), Baghdad, where the ex-residents of Camp New Iraq (formerly Camp Ashraf) are being sheltered in Iraq, and called on the Government of Iraq to find and prosecute the perpetrators as well as to do everything it can to guarantee the security of the residents. For its part, the UN is continuing its ongoing efforts urgently to find solutions abroad for the residents.
• Pursuant to the Memorandum of Understanding between the United Nations and the Government of Iraq of 25 December 2011 on the situation of the residents of Camp New Iraq, approximately 3,200 persons have now been transferred, on a voluntary basis, to Camp Hurriya, where they stay while UNHCR continues to process their applications for international protection. The UN continues to urge 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 in transit in Camp Hurriya, while their claims are being processed, as provided for 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 – 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.
• UNHCR, together with the Government of Iraq, UNAMI including importantly the international community, remains committed to finding peaceful solutions to this long-standing problem. Accordingly, UNHCR and UNAMI continue their efforts in this direction by urgently calling upon States to actively realize solutions outside Iraq on a humanitarian basis. So far a small number of residents have departed Iraq.
14 February 2013
* This document will be updated as needed.