UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) today signed an agreement worth US$10 million to improve the living conditions of Syrian refugees in northern Iraq.
The KFAED contribution, the first ever to UNHCR, will have a substantial impact on the water, health, sanitation, shelter conditions in five camps hosting 97,000 Syrian refugees in Dohuk and Erbil, in northern Iraq.
The agreement was signed at a ceremony attended by Kelly T. Clements, the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, and Abdulwahab A. Al-Bader, the Director General of the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development.
“The generous contribution from the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development is extremely welcome and timely, with the number of Syrian refugees in the region now exceeding 5 million people,” Clements said.
“Many Syrian families in Northern Iraq have been displaced for extended periods of time and live in dire conditions. They need our solidarity and our support, now more than ever,” she added.
The KFAED contribution reflects Kuwait’s pioneering humanitarian efforts and is a real commitment to creating a brighter future for refugees, added the Deputy High Commissioner.
Iraq currently hosts over 230,000 Syrian refugees, most of whom are located in the northern part of the country, in Erbil, Duhok and Sulaymaniyah. Over 90,000 Syrian refugees, almost 40 percent, live inside camps, including Domiz 1, the largest refugee camp in Iraq, Domiz 2, Basirma camp, Darashakran camp and Qushtapa camp, where the project funding will be directed.
The Deputy High Commissioner’s two-day mission to Kuwait follows the High Commissioner’s visit last year and comes just ahead of the Brussels conference, Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region Conference in Brussels, on 4-5 April 2017. The Ministerial conference will discuss the implementation of commitments made a year ago to support Syria and outline the way ahead for the refugee response.
Kuwait has previously hosted three international humanitarian pledging conferences, and nine top donors’ meetings in support of the international humanitarian response to the humanitarian crisis in Syria.
Kuwait also co-hosted the Supporting Syria and the Region conference in 2016, during which the country pledged US$300 million in support of the Syria humanitarian response over the next three years.
By 2016, the State of Kuwait had provided a contribution of US$360 million to UNHCR for the Syrian crisis and Iraq. In 2015, the country held the position of largest donor per capita and was UNHCR’s sixth largest donor globally.
Published on the UNHCR's website on April 2, 2017.
Palestinians in Iraq face an uncertain future with little hope of escaping life as stateless refugees.
Claire Thomas- Al Jazeera
Erbil, Iraq - Inside Baharka IDP Camp, a government-run refugee camp that provides emergency shelter for over 4,000 internally displaced people, 18 Palestinian families live in a cluster of makeshift homes. Located near the Kurdish city of Erbil, the camp is managed by the Barzani Charity Foundation and the Erbil Refugee Council.
Born and raised in Baghdad, 30-year-old Palestinian Yahia Mahmoud has lived in Baharka camp for over two years. Without permission to work, travel or build a life as a citizen, and with nowhere else to go, Mahmoud and his family, like other Palestinian refugees in Iraq, are trapped in a cycle of isolation, discrimination and continual displacement.
For this family, as is the case for many Palestinians, their identity as stateless refugees is passed down from generation to generation.
Mahmoud's parents were also born as refugees in Iraq. His grandfather fled Palestine during the exodus of 1948, known as the Nakba, when 700,000 Palestinian Arabs were expelled from their homes.
Mahmoud spent most of his childhood in refugee camps surrounding Baghdad. After being continually displaced throughout his life, most recently fleeing from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, known as ISIS) fighters in Ramadi, he now lives in Baharka camp with his wife and two children, together with his brother and other relatives.
In August 2016, Mahmoud's mother, Hudda Awad, died from cancer at the age of 57. For four months, she had been unable to continue with her chemotherapy in Iraq; her son believes that she was denied the treatment in part because of her ethnicity. "They did not give it to her because it cost a lot of money and also because we are Arabs, not Kurds," he says.
For Mahmoud and his family, their options are limited. Desperate to provide a brighter and safer future for his children, Mahmoud hopes of someday escaping Iraq in search of the opportunity to build a better life for him and his family as citizens, and not as refugees.
This article was published on Al Jazeera's website on February 5,2017.