ASIA/IRAQ - Christian Minister for Immigration and Refugees begins the planned closure of the refugee camps

Friday, 20 November 2020 middle east   oriental churches   refugees   jihadists   women  

Baghdad (Agenzia Fides) - The Chaldean Christian Evan Faeq Yakoub Jabro, current Iraqi Minister for Immigration and Refugees, has begun to implement the closure of all refugee camps planned by the Baghdad government in October by March next year. However, the implementation of the government plan is not easy, and the first statements made by the Minister on the underlying criteria are controversial.

Many internally displaced persons who fled the northern Iraqi regions after falling under the jihadist rule of the self-proclaimed Islamic State (Daesh) in 2014 live in such camps. The government's willingness to close the refugee camps is in line with the country's economic needs and public order requirements, but is met with opposition from many refugees who do not intend to return to their respective regions of origin, where the persistent insecurity and lack of work persist, making it difficult for the displaced to envision a peaceful future for their families.
In recent days, Minister Evan Jabro met with representatives from the Autonomous Region of Iraqi Kurdistan, where tens of thousands of Christians who fled from Mosul and the villages of the Nineveh Plain in 2014 have found refuge. On this occasion, the Minister proposed offering the displaced people welcomed in Iraqi Kurdistan the possibility of permanently integrating themselves into the socio-economic fabric in which they currently live, and not to return to their areas of origin. During the meeting, the Minister also gave an example of the story of the "Virgin Mary" Refugee Camp, in which Christian families are housed in Baghdad who had fled northern Iraq in the face of the advance of jihadist militias: the refugees from this refugee camp - reported Evan Jabro - asked to stay in Baghdad and rejected subsidies aimed at favoring their return to their areas of origin.
The plan, as ordered by the Iraqi government, to close the refugee camps was also criticized by Ali al Bayati, a member of the Iraqi High Committee on Human Rights. He emphasized to news portal that if one really wants to save the resources allocated for refugees, instead of closing the camps, it would be better to eliminate the same Ministry of Immigration and Refugees and merge it with other government agencies.
Evan Jabro, who has been dealing with the refugee crisis and the resettlement of internally displaced persons on behalf of the Iraqi government since June of last year (see Fides 8/6/2020), teaches biology and has in the past been particularly committed to the younger generation, usually neglected by Iraqi politics.
In the past, Evan Jabro worked with the NGO Al-Firdaws, founded by Fatima Al-Bahadly in 2003, and was involved in developing social and work projects aimed mainly at women and young people. The Minister also held the position of adviser to the Governor of Mosul for issues relating to minorities, and in the Iraqi political elections of May 2018 she ran as a candidate for one of the five seats reserved for Christian minorities under a "quota system". (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 20/11/2020)