IRAQ UPDATE: September 2010


27 October 2010
IRAQ UPDATE: September 2010

On team during
this period were Rosemarie Milazzo and Chihchun Yuan.

IDP Camp (Internally
Displaced Persons)

The team visited the IDP camp regularly, but was not able to talk to any IDP
representatives.  The IDP camp in
Bastesan was in crisis.  The number
of remaining IDP families dropped from ten families in the beginning of
September to two families at the end of the month.  The families in the camp complained they could not get any
help, because other IDPs were living outside the camp.  

On 17 September, Mr. Mohamed told the team, “We are not united.  People only take care of themselves now…They
leave us here and only come back to get materials…We are only few families here
and we are blamed by the other people not taking care of the other tents…We
want people make a decision to keep this camp or close this camp.  If they decide to close the camp, we
will go to the other place.  If
they want to keep the camp, they need to come back here…Sometimes when the NGOS
came, they saw we were only six families, four families.  Maybe that is the reason we cannot get
help….  The families here have
different needs than the other families that still have a little bit money to
rent the house in the town.  The
families staying the camp really need help.”

From different NGO resources, the team got the information that the local mayor
prevented NGOs from giving to the Bastesan IDP camp because they are long-term
IDPs.  In addition, Dr. Braham
Salah (KRG Prime Minister) gave permission to build houses to other IDPs in
preparation for winter, but not for the long-term IDPs.   

The team prepared another picnic activity in the IDP camp, hoping to bring the
IDPs back to talk among themselves.  The team thought both the local people and NGOs would
participate, but the local NGO network dropped out for many different reasons.
Peace-Building Activity
The team met a small group of people from Kirkuk and discussed what the human
rights of Kirkukians were and how the government has responded to those needs.  The team thought they would say they
wanted water and electricity.  However,
they responded by saying they wanted freedom of speech, education, and fair judicial
processes.  Someone from the group
said the government wants to “trap” people in the water and electricity
shortage and ignore about the other rights. 

The team had its first story- sharing activity in the public library on 24
September.  While few people
attended, due to misunderstandings, the library staff came and had a great
conversation with the team.  One
woman shared a story of her brother, who was on the Turkish Ship bringing
help to Gaza that the Israeli military ambushed.  Several people on the boat died in the attack.  

Eid Celebration
The team baked and took cakes to a neighbor’s house and wished them
Blessings of Eid.  In the evening, the team also received some pastry and
fried bread from the neighbors.  The team went to a lake to celebrate the Eid.  At the
lake site, one of the fishermen invited the team into his boat while he went
fishing.  Later the team was invited to meet the fishermen’s families and
had lunch.  One man told the story
of how he was jailed for a couple months in UK because he refused to return
Iraq voluntarily.  He was in the UK
for seven years before the government forced to him to leave.


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