UNHCR, Ministry of Interior achieve milestone in refugee rights in Iraq with new memorandum signing
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the Permanent Committee for Refugees at the Ministry of Interior have today signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enhance the protection of refugees and asylum seekers in Iraq.
The agreement was signed by Dr Aqeel Mahmoud Al-Khazali, Senior Deputy Minister of Interior, and Bruno Geddo (pictured), UNHCR’s Representative in Iraq.
“This Memorandum marks a milestone for protection and respect for the rights of refugees and asylum seekers in Iraq,” Geddo said. “Iraq has been a generous host for refugees and asylum seekers for decades. Although Iraq is not a signatory of the 1951 Refugee Convention, the Iraqi Constitution upholds the right to seek asylum and this Memorandum of Understanding puts that right into practice,” he added.
Speaking at the ceremony, Senior Deputy Minister of Interior Dr Aqeel Mahmoud Al-Khazali underlined that Iraq is a democracy which upholds progressive values including the rights of refugees and asylum seekers. Under the terms of the Memorandum, the Government of Iraq will provide registration and documentation to refugees, asylum seekers and persons of concern.
For its part, UNHCR will provide advice, technical and other support to the Permanent Committee for Refugees to facilitate the management of refugee affairs in Iraq.