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Statement by The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, May 6, 2014:

Continuing insecurity affecting residents of Camp Hurriya (Camp Liberty)

Since 2011, UNHCR, together with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), has been engaged in an effort to find relocation opportunities outside Iraq for some 3,200 former residents of Camp New Iraq (formerly Camp Ashraf), who now reside in Camp Hurriya, near Baghdad International Airport.

On-going insecurity in Iraq is affecting the residents of Camp Hurriya and UN staff who work with them in the Baghdad International Airport area. While there have been no major attacks against the camp since the rocket strike on 26 December 2013 that killed four residents, nightly rocket attacks in the Abu-Ghraib area (12 kilometres from the airport) underscore the continuing risk to the safety and security of the camp and UN staff.

It is important to recall that camp residents suffered three separate rocket attacks in 2013, each of which resulted in deaths and injuries. In addition, an attack against Camp New Iraq in September 2013 left 52 dead and seven persons missing.

UNHCR calls upon the Government of Iraq to take all possible measures to ensure the safety of residents and calls upon governments of other countries to admit residents and to offer long term solutions. UNHCR also remains gravely concerned about the fate of the seven missing former residents of Camp New Iraq.

UNHCR further underlines that camp residents are entitled to protection against expulsion or forced return to any place where their life or freedom would be threatened. The Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Iraq and the United Nations explicitly recognises that residents benefit from the principle of non-refoulement.

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