Over 31,000

Garmiyan hosts large numbers of refugees and IDPs

GARMIYAN – Garmiyan area in the southern part of the Kurdistan Region continues to host over 30,000 refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs).

Of this figure, over 1,000 Iranian Kurdish refugees, who have been in Iraq since 1979, currently live in Garmiyan. Initially settled in Al-Tash camp in Anbar province, they moved to Kurdistan in 2003, with many now residing in camps like Sherawan in the Qoratu district of Garmiyan. Local officials say these camps lack services from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Bestun Jalayi, Director of Migration, Displacement, and Crisis Response in the Garmiyan administration, told 964media, “The UNHCR formally recognizes some of these refugees, but many have been waiting over 40 years for resettlement to a third country.”

Data from Iraq’s Ministry of Migration and Displacement also indicates that 5,000 families, amounting to more than 30,000 IDPs, live in various towns, villages, and settlements within the Garmiyan administration.

Jalayi noted, “If food distribution forms were used as a basis, currently Arab IDPs make up 10 percent of Garmiyan’s population.”
The Iraqi Ministry of Migration and Displaced has decided that all IDP camps across Iraq, including Kurdistan, must be closed by the end of July, and their residents must return to their home areas.

Two refugee camps in the area, which once housed over a thousand refugee families, are now deserted.

The decision to close the camps has generated objections from Kurdish authorities and some IDPs, who argue that conditions in home areas, particularly in places like Sinjar in western Nineveh province, are not conducive for return.

KRG officials warn that if the camps are closed, many IDPs might seek to migrate to Europe.