Over 183,000 displaced Iraqi families have returned home, officials say

Iraqis unload their belongings from a bus that arrived in Baghdad from Syria in February 2012. [Saad Shalash/Reuters]

Iraqis unload their belongings from a bus that arrived in Baghdad from Syria in February 2012. [Saad Shalash/Reuters]

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More than 183,000 internally displaced and migrant families have returned to their original home areas over the past few years, Iraqi officials announced Thursday (May 10th).

Salam al-Khafajy, undersecretary for the Ministry of Migration and the Displaced, told Mawtani the statistics were tallied from 2008 until May 8th of this year.

"About 60% of those families [183,132] returned from internal displacement while the rest returned from outside the country, particularly from Syria, Jordan, Iran and Lebanon," he said.

Acts of violence, which peaked in 2006 and 2007, forced hundreds of thousands of Iraqi families to leave their homes in search for more secure areas inside Iraq or in other countries.

"An improvement in security across the country was one of the major reasons that encouraged people to return voluntarily in addition to the ministry's programmes for assisting returnees that allowed them to integrate back into their original communities," Khafajy said.

"The ministry now provides every returning family with 4 million dinars ($3,200) to help them meet their basic needs after the return," he said.

"There are also services that we offer to the displaced who are returning, such as coordinating with other state ministries and offices to facilitate a return to their jobs if they were government employees and helping re-enroll their children in schools and universities," he said.

"We also have programmes in co-operation with the International Migration Organisation to re-qualify and retrain the returnees in various professions, help the unemployed to open small income projects, and create suitable jobs for them, which would help in accelerating the process of integration and improve their living conditions," Khafajy said.

He said the ministry allocated 10 billion dinars ($8 million) to finance these programmes during 2012 and increase the number of beneficiaries in all Iraqi provinces.

Reintegration assistance

Sattar Nawruz, deputy general director of the ministry's office for Migration Affairs, told Mawtani that Baghdad province recorded the highest number of returning families at 67,709. Ninawa province ranked second with 50,526 followed by Diyala with 31,769. Salah al-Din registered the lowest number with 1,658, according to Nawruz.

"The statistics also recorded a considerable number of highly educated, displaced Iraqis retuning from abroad, such as university professors and persons with high level specializations, whose numbers reached 3,984," he said.

Nawruz said he expected "an increase in the rates of voluntary return in the near future because of progress in the country in terms of security, economy, and service". He said the ministry "is continuing its special services and programmes to assist the returnees and provide the requirements for their reintegration into society".

Zakiya al-Jiwary, a member of the Iraqi parliament's displaced persons committee, told Mawtani the committee is collaborating with provincial councils to provide low-cost housing or a residential plot of lands for returning families that do not own a home.

"We are also trying to increase the financial grant given to returnees […] whose homes were severely damaged or lost all their household goods during the period when gunmen controlled their areas," she said. "Those families should be compensated and a helping hand extended to them in a special way."

Al-Jiwary said the Ministry of Migration and the Displaced should "intensify their efforts in supporting the returning families by providing them with the necessary supplies that would help them to rebuild their lives and create the proper environment for reintegration again into their communities and eliminate the human suffering and hardships that were caused by the displacement".

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  • READER COMMENTS

    تحسين عبد الكريم

    2012-7-27

    The Arab community is torn apart every day of tenderness to what is happening in Syria, on the contrary from various Arab governments that droop perfectly its role towards the Syrian people and turned their backs completely on what is happening in Syria at the scene of a human does not inspire any respect for these governments. These are governments of fascist authoritarian does not uphold right, but the Arab revolutions had originally happened against these traitors who rule the Arab countries and so the hope is still exists that we find Arab intervention soon due to the pressure on the rulers of the Arab peoples who have turned their backs on that traitor Bashar al-Assad.

  • محمد رسن دمان

    2012-7-27

    The Bashar Al-Assad is one of the despicable characters that the world has ever known, that villain has recently attacked his people and used the army against them.

  • قاسم الحلان

    2012-7-10

    The situation in Iraq is promising since the improvement of the security conditions in the different Iraqi regions has led to the return of seven thousands Iraqi families to the country within the late few months. These families had left the country because of the instability and the precarious security conditions in Iraq. In fact, citizens have restored their normal life and shops have reopened until late hours at night which was impossible some months ago. In this respect, despite the efforts that aimed to maintain safety for citizens, eradicate terrorism and face terrorist acts, they are not sufficient given that they have created harmony between them and the Iraqi citizens. They have also coordinated between these parties through creating popular intelligence institutions between them in order to report on the terrorist acts, extremism and violence against Iraqis. Indeed, the Iraqi security plan which required the deployment of thousands of American and Iraqi security members in the capital and its suburbs has started to yield its fruit.

  • فلاح رشدي

    2012-6-11

    Iraq has large numbers of experts who are widespread in the world and there are Arab States that depend on Iraqi professors in their universities. We must provide all these professors with functional degrees in case they decide to return to Iraq because the country is in urgent need of their expertise since things are different today from before. However, we find that the political blocs depend on the graduates in deciding the partisan and leadership positions in the governmental institutions and this means that there is a quest by everyone to let the competent people take leadership positions. Our duty, as professors at the Iraqi universities, is to prepare our students to become eligible to assume these responsibilities in the future and that's what we're working for.

  • عبدالله عاصم

    2012-6-11

    Perhaps a lot of vocabularies of daily life need to be revisited when we come to them, especially those related to the intellectual aspect based on the history of the country and some of its particulars. Of course, this is due to temporal accumulation and the critical times that the country experienced in light of the dictatorships that exhausted Iraq for decades. The Iraqi universities, which have the task of building generations on top of what we want to discuss in the investigation, opened up the Iraqi gates for the sake of history, heritage and civilization. The Iraqi leaders and specialists in the field of education stressed the growing role that the universities can play in building the future of the political process in Iraq on a national basis, especially as a large number of Iraqi professors and experts returned home after years of living abroad.

  • صادق

    2012-6-10

    Terrorists care for nothing but money given that they are carrying out any act in order to make some profits. In fact, the former regime granted them money because they are criminals, mercenaries and jobless. The regime gave them a lot of money to destroy Iraqis. Actually, the situation remained normal for some time after the overthrow of the regime but soon assassination acts began. These acts have been carried out against officers. After that, they started to affect tribal Sheikhs and major political icons. Then, they started to target the innocent on the basis of sectarian or ethnic identity. Later on, they started to carry out displacement activities from which a lot of citizens have suffered. As a result, the situations of many Iraqi families have deteriorated because of this malicious step. Indeed, displacement acts have had a negative impact on the psychological state of these families and have been responsible for the destruction of a lot of these Iraqi families. The latter have deserted their houses seeking shelter in tents or in unfinished houses in any region because of the threat of terrorists. In fact, everything has been planned from the beginning and whenever a plan failed, terrorists moved to the following one.

  • عبدالاله

    2012-5-23

    Terrorist groups and criminal militia have gone very far in committing crimes and have inflicted a great deal of suffering and tragedies on the Iraqi people. For many years, they have also caused instability and lack of security in our country due to their savage, criminal and terrorist activities. These activities have claimed the lives of many people while many others became disabled and orphaned. They also resulted in displacement and laid the foundations for abhorrent sectarian strife in our country, Iraq. This is despite the fact that our country is one and united by its people who are related by kinship and love each other. These terrorist activities have produced many problems which the Iraqis are still struggling with since the repercussions of these problems are still prevalent and affect all Iraqis. Thus, I pray to God, sincerely, to help my country Iraq and my people enjoy peace and stability. I also pray to him to spread peace throughout Iraq and to sustain the love between Iraqis, so that everyone can work to thwart terrorist plots and subdue evil groups. These groups do not want to see a peaceful, stable Iraq and desire to prolong the existing problems in it. Hence, our love for our people and our love for Iraq, the country of civilizations, saints and righteous people, compels us to supplicate to God, the Almighty to have mercy and tranquility upon this country. Iraq has long suffered from the horrors of criminals and murderers who lost touch with being fearful of God and who wreak havoc in this country. They have spread destruction and criminality in this country, hence, may God pour punishment on criminals, fools and everyone who is hostile to Iraq.

  • مازن علاء

    2012-5-23

    Iraq has suffered much, and all that has been taken away from it should be restored, because Iraq is one of the richest Arab countries in terms of natural resources and it has abundant oil resources. I would like to say that in the past, all the countries relied on it, and it used to offer help to everyone, but now no one is helping it at all. Iraq, that good-natured, persevering and striving country, should become one of the best Arab countries bar none, and now its turn has come to get back to its beautiful past and realize all its ambitions. Iraq should open up to the outside world so that it can keep in touch with all countries and experience more development, and all the other countries should stand by its side in its trials and crisis that it is going through, and they should help it in the rebuilding process and in carrying out reforms and development on a very large scale. What I want from the Iraqis is for them to put themselves at the top and to not submit to anyone regardless of who they are. It is the duty of every Iraqi to defend his lands and what is taking place there. Iraq should forget the past and think about the present, because the Iraqis have become very tired, and they cannot stand it any longer, and it is impossible for people to remain in a backward state. I think that they are now waging a war with all their force against terrorism and the terrorists, because they want Iraq to return to a better condition, and they want to engage in a process of rebuilding and construction and manufacturing and agriculture and development, and the Arab or European countries should participate with Iraq in that, and they should help it reach a very advanced level of development.. Iraq has become very tired and it has suffered so much as a result of the wars and economic sanctions and the recent wars that rid it of the regime of the heretic, Saddam Hussein, who left Iraq without any status among the countries. However, now Iraq’s turn has come, so that it can prove to the world the contrary of that, and that it can do everything within its means in order to reach a very advanced level.

  • صمد

    2012-5-19

    Al-Qaeda and terrorism have not affected Iraq in just one aspect, but instead they have had a considerable impact and caused tremendous suffering for this country and its people in many respects. Because of them, we have lost nine years in the history of this country where nothing was achieved, and all the efforts were focused on hunting down terrorists, with the loss of many more innocent Iraqi lives, and the spread of fear and terror in the hearts of the Iraqis, particularly children, and the fact that Iraq went backwards due to lack of jobs and services, and nothing was available, while sectarianism and social strife were rampant, with people forced to leave their homes under threat from terrorists, and the killing of many Iraqis, and the disintegration of entire families, and the migration of a large number of citizens to the neighboring countries, Europe or America. The blame for all of this is on the accursed terrorists. May Allah help Iraq in its misfortunes and help it against those that have desecrated our lands and destroyed this country.

  • سعدون احمد

    2012-5-19

    There is no doubt that the terrorist attacks launched by terrorist organizations pose a major threat to the country and to the various segments in society, due to the fact that they cause loss of peace and security, and the destruction of property and the violation of all sanctities and rights, including the killing and kidnapping of civilians, and threatening the lives of many of them, in addition to the massive destruction and devastation that are wreaked on the government institutions and society as a result of these activities, and the large number of victims of these activities. There is also the feeling of insecurity and the spread of a sense of horror, fear, tension, apprehension, shock, and confusion in the hearts of the members of society. This in turn creates a lack of confidence and trust in the government’s authority, due to its inability to protect them, which leads many citizens to leave the country and search for other places where they can have security and tranquility.

  • حسين

    2012-5-16

    O Muslims! O those that belong to the community of Muhammad! Muhammad is innocent of our actions. Enough of the bickering and mutual cursing. Fear Allah! With what face will we meet the Messenger, and what will our answer be on the Day of Judgment? What have we done? We have killed each other, insulted and cursed each other, and declared each other unbelievers. O people, O Muslims, this is a time of strife and dissension, so remain silent, and comment on the news with respect and decency, and try to reconcile and unite the Muslims instead of cursing and threatening others, as we will have to answer for this on the Last Day, and for every word that comes out of our mouth, as our Lord keeps records of everything. Fear Allah, people, the corrupt and tyrannical rulers that have taken power over the Muslims are the ones behind all this killing and strife among Muslims. For the sake of staying in power, they use religion and sectarianism for their own selfish interests. Who among them follows the guidance of the Messenger? All of them spend their time in palaces and places of amusement, drinking wine, and squandering the wealth of the Muslims, and they are the cause behind our infighting and divisions, while the enemies laugh at us. This is why the Messenger fought for 20 years and his companions sacrificed their lives. Where is the best community in all of mankind? Killing and booby-trapping and sectarianism. I can see the eyes of the Prophet, peace be upon him, filled with tears, and I only think we, Sunnis and Shiites, will all be held accountable on the Day of Judgment because of the situation that the Ummah has ended up in today, and the first to enter hellfire, and what an evil destination! There is no might or power except with Allah! As mentioned in the Quran, “Say, if I were to disobey my Lord, I fear the punishment of a terrible day”.

  • ابو حازم

    2012-5-14

    Iraqis are still patient and steadfast. In fact, many of them have not left their country although they have suffered and endured a lot of terrorist acts, bloodshed and the abuse of their rights that led to the halt of people’s life and their suffering. Thus, we pray Allah to rid us of all such torture, suffering and pain and make Iraq stronger and better than before. We also pray Allah that Iraq will achieve continuous successes that contribute to developing and advancing the country, God willing, given that Iraqis have a unique patience, strength, courage and chivalry.