Ninewa, Iraq - The Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq, Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator, Irena Vojáčková-Sollorano, travelled to Ninewa this week to assess the situation of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in protracted displacement and to meet with authorities at local and governorate level as well as community leaders. She reaffirmed the UN’s long-term commitment to support the Government of Iraq in addressing the challenges it faces as it continues its stabilization, recovery, reconciliation efforts and achieving durable solutions, and to ensure that all IDPs have the right to a safe home and to a self-sufficient and dignified life even through voluntary return to their places of origin or settling down in new communities in safety and dignity.
During her visit to Ninewa, the Deputy Special Representative emphasized the need to ensure the protection of IDPs, national minorities and vulnerable sections of society, urging the Government of Iraq to redouble its efforts to support them in achieving durable solutions, deliver basic services to all Iraqis and ensure that IDPs have the right to voluntary return to their places of origin in safety and dignity.
Ms. Vojáčková-Sollorano was accompanied by Ms. Sheri Ritsema-Anderson, Head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), Iraq, Ms. Philippa Candler, Acting Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR),
Iraq, and Ms. Zena Ali Ahmad, Resident Representative of UNDP in Iraq.
During her five-day visit, from 11 to 15 October 2020,the Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator met with civil society, humanitarian and development actors, and other key national and international stakeholders to discuss recovery and reconciliation efforts to support IDPs and communities.
The Humanitarian Coordinator, accompanied by Head of OCHA, and acting Representative of UNHCR also visited the Hassan Sham IDP Camp in Ninewa and met with the camp management and residents and returnees in the province to discuss challenges they face as well as the obstacles that prevent them from returning to their hometowns and villages.
The Resident Coordinator visited the Directorate of Civil Status, Passports and Residency, which issues. identification cards, including civil ID, nationality and residency certificates, with whom UNHCR has a national partnership. The loss or destruction of civil documentation is one of the main protection issues resulting from the ISIS occupation and the consequent conflict. There are numerous reasons for the loss of civil documentation, such as missing or destroyed during conflict or flight, confiscation at checkpoints or at screening sites, and in some cases within the camps. Absence of documentation exposes IDPs to arrest or detention, prevention of freedom of movement, and denial of access to services and return of property. Single women and children are particularly vulnerable; without documentation, they are exposed to violence, and children risk de facto statelessness and denial of access to education.
The Resident Coordinator further visited Mosul’s iconic Al-Nuri Mosque, and Al-Tahera Church, which are being rehabilitated by UNESCO in association with the Sunni Endowment, the Ministry of Culture and with funding by the UAE. The Resident Coordinator also visited other projects funded by the EU aimed at reviving heritage houses in the old quarters in the city of Mosul, as well as visiting a UNDP housing project in Mosul, accompanied by the UNDP Resident Representative. She met homeowners and a local community leader to discuss the impact of the housing rehabilitation and the challenges faced by residents while living under ISIS occupation. In Mosul, UNDP has rehabilitated more than 6,000 houses, enabling thousands of displaced families to return to their homes.
The Resident Coordinator paid a visit to the UNAMI field office in Mosul and viewed potential future expanded premises. The expanded premises would enable UN agencies to increase the UN family’s footprint in the Ninewa region.
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