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The road back home is less travelled by Iraqi refugees

Refugees can't go back home because most of the recovered cities are still devastated and are not able to provide for basic necessities. Photograph: (Getty)

Reuters Baghdad, Iraq Jul 27, 2016, 07.25 AM (IST)
After years of violence and war in Iraq, officials said that the damaged infrastructure and the slow reconstruction process in war-torn regions have made it difficult for refugees to come back home.

According to UN figures, the number of Iraqi refugees has hit 3.4 million. Moreover, the number of refugees from Mosul has been soaring, and is expected to continue due to the fighting against extremists in the area.

Jassim Mohammed al-Jaff, minister of Migration and Displacement, said that in areas recovered by the government, the process of moving refugees back has started, but the problem can only be solved when the situation in Mosul is stable.

"The ultimate solution is certainly letting the refugees go back, which means the most practical and fundamental way is helping them going back to their homeland, because the regions that receive them can only provide temporary resettlement, but we can’t provide them with services forever. The refugees are also not willing to stay at the temporary shelters for long; they want to go back home," said Jassim Mohammed al-Jaff.

According to Iraqi authorities, only 600,000 refugees have managed to come back home, accounting for less than one sixth of the total.

"It is a problem for refugees to come back home voluntarily because most of the recovered cities are still devastated and are not able to provide for the basic necessities of the residents. Meanwhile, recently some children of the refugees face the threat of being kidnapped; many kids have died in the process," said Fadelal-Gharawi, a member of Iraq's High Commission for Human Rights.

Iraq has been mired in war and other conflicts since 2003, especially with the constant terrorist attacks across the country, which has led to economic downturn and has hindered the rebuilding of infrastructure.

(Reuters)
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