As thousands of refugees, mostly from Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan remain stranded, struggling to survive at the Belarus-Poland border, and as the Iraqi government has recently announced that they would operate a flight for those who wish to return home, Syrian refugees demonstrated in Iraqi Kurdistan’s capital Erbil (Hewlêr) demanding that the United Nations resettled them.
The silent vigil took place outside the United Nations Refugee Agency headquarters in the city.
Husam Abbas, one of the demonstrators, said resettlement was a right denied to them.
“The UN says it disagrees with what is happening on the border,” he said, and made a call: “Then open a legal door to refugees so that the illegal one is closed, and do not cry over the refugees saying you want to secure a good life for them. The issue of resettlement is the rights of refugees. But they say it is not. All the refugees are here to talk about their children’s future.”
Noura M’amo, another Syrian refugee, said their children lacked both access to medical services and to education in Iraqi Kurdistan.
“There are lots of other sick children like my daughter too. She needs care and medicine. I can not afford to buy her medicine. I can not provide her with physical therapy. Our economic situation is so difficult… My husband is not always able to find work. There are no jobs here. I want resettlement for my daughter, not for myself; for my children who are not attending school.”
Around a quarter of a million Syrian refugees, displaced by the war in their country, continue to live in Iraqi Kurdistan. While around 60 percent of the refugees reside in urban areas, the rest live in nine camps in the region.