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1.8 Million Remain Displaced in Iraq
By Fadel al-Nashmi
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President of the International Committee of the Red Cross Peter Maurer revealed Tuesday that 1.8 million people remain displaced in Iraq more than a year after the end of major combat operations against ISIS.

Former Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi had declared military victory over ISIS in December 2017.

Maurer said that rebuilding the social fabric in Iraq is key to ensuring that the country can leave its violent past behind.

He made his remarks during a four-day visit to the country where he met with Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, President Barham Salih and parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi.

"The magnitude of the destruction in Iraq does not get any less shocking, but what is less visible are the social scars that run deep in Iraq today," Maurer said.

"If Iraq is to get back on its feet, then society must work towards reconciliation. Within that process, safe and voluntary returns without discrimination for all displaced Iraqis who wish to go back to their homes need to be ensured," he added.

He also drew attention to the critical need to clarify the fate of a large number of people, thought to be in the hundreds of thousands, still missing from decades of different rounds of conflict.

Member of the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights Ali Al Bayati acknowledged the large figures of the displaced revealed by the ICRC.

He accused Iraqi authorities and international relief agencies of failing in their duties to return some 2 million refugees to their homes.

The Iraqi authorities spoke about returning the displaced during their electoral campaigns last year, but they have since forgotten the issue, he told Asharq Al-Awsat.

He blamed a number of factors for discouraging the displaced to return home, such as weak infrastructure, security instability, ISIS-planted landmines and persistent terrorist cells.

Spokesman for the Salaheddine elders council, Marwan Jabara said that the ICRC report "very closely" described the reality in Iraq, revealing that the majority of the refugees come from the Nineveh province.

He told Asharq Al-Awsat that more than 40,000 destroyed homes have not been reconstructed in Nineveh, leaving some 1 million people to remain in camps or the Iraq Kurdistan Region.



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