Baghdad — During a ceremony held on 13 June 2021, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) provided Iraq’s Ministry of Interior (MoI) with four Mobile Border Processing Units (MBPU) equipped with metal detectors, radios, binoculars, IT equipment and the IOM-developed Migration Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS). This system is a high-quality, cost-effective and fully customizable border management information system that will allow the MoI to collect, process, store and analyse traveller information in real time and across an entire border network.
The delivery of these technologies, made possible with support from the governments of the United States and Canada, is a key component of two ongoing IOM projects to assist the Government of Iraq (GoI) with implementing a comprehensive border management plan to facilitate safe, orderly and regular migration in order to pave the way for sustainable security.
“The transfer of MIDAS-outfitted equipment marks the first time this technology is being made operational in Iraq,” said IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Gerard Waite. “This is a pivotal moment in IOM’s support for the Government of Iraq and Iraqi national security, and we are grateful for the generous contributions of the governments of the United States and Canada, which have made this milestone possible.”
The two projects target Iraq’s highly porous border with Syria, where border controls have been adversely impacted by years of war and sanctions. The crisis caused by the Islamic State (or Daesh), difficult security conditions and challenges with the federal budget have left border communities without the tools and capabilities they need to address security concerns.
The delivery of this equipment is part of a broader effort to enhance border security, including the implementation of infrastructure modernization, community-based dialogue and problem-solving platforms and capacity building for law enforcement and border guards. This approach will help to enhance the technical capacity of the Government of Iraq to receive, screen and respond to migrants coming from Syria and leaving Iraq. It also strengthens the ability of Iraqi institutions, officials and communities to cooperatively identify and resolve border security issues.
The GoI and partners – including the Border Points Commission, provincial and local governments, local civil society organizations and other entities – have been involved at every stage of the project, including planning, design and implementation, to support an integrated border management approach that is sustainable, as well as responsive to the needs of border communities.
“I am pleased that the Government of the United States of America, through its support to the IOM, has worked to continuously improve the capacity of the Interior Ministry’s Border Guard Security Forces,” said U.S. Ambassador Matthew Tueller. “The initiative we are celebrating today is part of an ongoing effort by the United States to help Iraq enhance its border controls and screening capabilities at the Al Qaim border crossing checkpoint in Anbar Province, as well as at the informal port-of-entry at Fao in Ninewa province. The MIDAS screening equipment we are handing over today, in addition to radios, night vision devices and vehicles, will strengthen the Border Guard Security Forces interdiction and screening capabilities at critical points along the Iraq-Syria border,” he added.
“Canada is pleased to support the Ministry of Interior and IOM’s efforts to enhance security along Iraq’s border with Syria,” said Canadian Ambassador Ulric Shannon. “This partnership is an important component of Canada’s broader engagement in Iraq, which aims to reinforce stability and promote the enduring defeat of Daesh.”
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