PM Barzani: students’ return to school is our priority
KRG Minister Nechirvan Barzani, Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani and senior KRG officials visited Duhok last week in order to examine and follow up the situation of families displaced from Sinjar, the Nineveh plains and surrounding areas currently she
In the meeting, KRG officials were provided with details of the locations currently accommodating approximately 900,000 internally displaced people. The displaced include a variety of ethnicities and religious minorities including Yezidis, Christians, Kakayis, Turkmen, Sunnis, and Shiaa. They have been sheltered in districts throughout the Duhok province. In some towns, the number of displaced people exceeds the number of local residents. The KRG provides the displaced with food, drink and necessities on daily basis.
The report highlighted the importance of building construction camps as quickly as possible in order to accommodate the displaced currently sheltered in schools. Because of the refugees, students have not been able to start their studying year yet.
The Kurdish PM said that one of his priorities is to make attempts to enable students return to their schools as soon as possible.
"Iraq’s government must 'intervene immediately' to aid hundreds of thousands of war refugees who have settled in the autonomous Kurdistan Region, Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani demanded.
Meanwhile, he said that KRG is ready to resolve the outstanding issues with the new government of Prime Minister Heidar al-Abadi in Baghdad, within a constitutional framework.
"We want Baghdad to get involved more and we ask the (Iraqi) Prime Minister to visit Duhok to see the magnitude of this humanitarian catastrophe,” Barzani said at a news conference. “We also ask the Iraqi President, Mr. Fuad Maasum, to visit and closely get informed of the situation."
"The KRG has informed Abadi that there are more than 800,000 displaced people in the province of Dohuk, which is not able to provide aid to all. The Iraqi government must intervene immediately to assist the IDP,” he said.
"There are approximately 31,000 students among the refugees in the province of Dohuk, and schools must be built in each camp," Barzani added, urging refugee teachers in the camps to serve their people and help displaced students continue their studies.
Barzani also touched upon the outstanding differences between his government and Baghdad which have been running deep since last year, when Baghdad froze the 17 per- cent of the Iraqi budget that is earmarked for the KRG.
The row has been over direct Kurdish oil exports through Turkey, which Baghdad labels as “illegal.” Barzani said that the revenues from oil exports do not equal the 17 percent share of the budget that the KRG usually receives.
Barzani reaffirmed that the KRG is ready to inform Baghdad of the details of oil exports.
Referring to the Peshmerga’s fight with Islamic State forces, Barzani said that their forces are trying to clear the areas that fell to the IS last month and facilitate the return of refugees to their homes.
Prime Minister Barzani and delegation at refugee camp construction site