31 May 2005, UN News Center - The Iraqi Government has agreed to move 3,100 Iranian Kurd refugees, who have been stuck in harsh and dangerous conditions near Ramadi, to a safer area in the north, the United Nations refugee agency said today.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) was informed that the Iraqi Prime Minister's Office approved the proposed plan to relocate Al Tash camp's remaining population - virtually cut off from aid since the start of the war in 2003 - to a much safer location near Suleimaniyah, in northern Iraq.
"Another 3,200 former Al Tash residents have already moved up to the Suleimaniyah region on their own initiative, and have been helped by the local authorities, UNHCR and other agencies to settle in to their new home area," said UNHCR spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis in Geneva today.
The local authorities in Suleimaniyah have also approved the relocation of the remaining Al Tash population, and a recent UNHCR survey revealed that most of the camp's population will be "more than happy" to make the move.
Separately, the UNHCR announced another "breakthrough" involving refugees living in Iraq at the time of the war, as some 743 refugees, mainly Iranian Kurds who have been living in a "no man's land" camp between Jordan and Iraq for up to two years, moved on Sunday to Ruweished camp, some 60 kilometres inside Jordan.
"Although conditions in Ruweished are far from perfect, it is nevertheless distinctly preferable to the no man's land camp, which was extremely difficult to access, potentially at considerable physical risk, and was under no state's jurisdiction," said Ms. Pagonis.
UNHCR says it will now redouble its efforts to persuade states - either within the region or elsewhere - to provide solutions for the people relocated from no man's land and for the 127 people, mostly Palestinians, who were already housed in Ruweished.
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