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Cablegate: Ministry of Displacement and Migration (Modm)

VZCZCXRO2348
PP RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #0621/01 0511815
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 201815Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9784
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 BAGHDAD 000621

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

WASHINGTON FOR PRM

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREF PHUM IZ
SUBJECT: MINISTRY OF DISPLACEMENT AND MIGRATION (MODM)
ACTIVITIES IN KIRKUK

REF: KIRKUK 004

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Sheikh Abdullah Fadil, head of the
MODM,s Kirkuk Office, says his primary responsibilities
include care of returning and new internally displaced people
(IDPS), and of stateless persons. He currently is focused on
assisting arriving IDPs from central and southern Iraq. His
office receives support from international partners such as
the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), as
well as local and national NGOs, but is still short of
sufficient resources to carry out its responsibilities.
Because of the Article 140 process and sensitivities about
Kirkuk,s ethnic balance, the Provincial Council has placed
restrictions on admissions of new IDPs to the Province unless
they can demonstrate former Kirkuk residence. As a result,
Kirkuk has received far fewer recent IDPs than adjacent
provinces. Abdullah has asked the PC to create temporary
residence permits for IDPs. About 1500 IDP families have
arrived in the last year with about 300 lacking official
permission. Kirkuk,s IDP camps are full, and new arrivals
without resources are forced to squat at various locations in
the city. Abdullah wants the US to join MODM as a
"partner" in solving Kirkuk,s IDP issues. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) IPAO met recently with Sheikh Abdullah Fadil,
director of MODM,s Kirkuk office. Abdullah has been the
head of the Kirkuk MODM office since it opened in February
2005. The purpose of the Ministry, said Abduallah, is to
"take care of emigration and to also take care of people
displaced by force" during the Baathist regime. Besides
IDPs, MODM also takes care of refugees in Iraq and stateless
people. Another purpose is to take care of persons
displaced since Iraq,s liberation in April 2003.

--------------------------------------------- ----
THE MODM,S SMALL BUDGET REFLECTS COORDINATOR ROLE
--------------------------------------------- ----
3. (SBU) Last year,s annual budget of the entire Ministry
was only $5 million, he said, while the budget of the Red
Crescent society, "that small organization" is about $50
million. He said the result was that MODM had "deficiencies"
affecting all offices and locations, including Kirkuk, where
there were "many big problems." Abdullah added, however,
that his office cooperates with and receives some support
from the Ministry,s international partners, including the
IOM and the UNHCR, as well as from other NGOS, "local and
national." But the combined assistance of all these is
"still not enough." (NOTE: Our understanding is that the
MODM is intended to be a coordinator rather than an executor
of IDP programs --- its low budget reflects this role, since
it is largely devoted to paying for ministry staff and
expenses, and not to directly funding IDP programs. (Rafa )
do you agree with this?)YES END NOTE).

--------------------------------------------- -
VILLAGES DESTROYED BY SADDAM SHOULD BE REBUILT
--------------------------------------------- -
4. (SBU) Abdullah stated that that it is "our humanitarian"
"moral purpose" to reconstruct all of the areas where
villages were destroyed by Saddam. Due to lack of funds,
however, his office can not carry out this role. There is
also a problem, he said, with people who left after the war
started in 2003 as well as with IDPs who arrived in Kirkuk
after the Samarra bombing last year. The latter came to
Kirkuk thinking that it was "quiet and secure." Because, he
said, Kirkuk is known as "Little Iraq" due to its ethnic mix,
it appealed to many different people fleeing from Baghdad and
other points in central and southern Iraq where the security
situation had become very bad.

5. (SBU) The majority of these settled in Kirkuk City, where
MODM has in place "its own mechanism" to register them,
according to Abdullah. The individual first receives
permission from the local area authorities and mayor to move
to a certain area, then needs "permission to move their
furniture and household goods." (NOTE: this is identical
to a process described by Assyrian leader Sargon Lazar in
REFTEL. Lazar indicated that he works in tandem with MODM,
so the arrangement that he describes as unique to the
Assyrians may in fact be MODM,s "mechanism." END NOTE).

--------------------
RESIDENCY PERMISSION
--------------------
6. (SBU) Abdullah noted that newly arrived persons
originally from Kirkuk can get official permission to stay
fairly easily, but for those who have no original Kirkuk
ties, it is very hard to get permission. This can reduce the

BAGHDAD 00000621 002 OF 003


assistance that MODM is allowed to provide them. For
example, he said, his office can issue a ration card to an
arriving family if they have permission to settle, but the
Provincial Council has "limited (MODM,s) authority" by
ruling that only persons who were listed in Kirkuk,s 1957
census or whose parents were listed can obtain such permission

----------------------------
NEW ARRIVALS ONLY TEMPORARY?
----------------------------
7. (SBU) Abdullah stated that in his experience most of
these new arrivals do not want to stay permanently because
"life is somewhere else.' He has stressed this to the
members of the Kirkuk Provincial Council,s Religious and
Social Affairs Committee, asking that they arrange to give
such arrivals permission to stay temporarily until the
situation improves in their home areas. Currently, he said,
there are at least 300 families who have arrived within the
last year and are living here without permission. The local
government's hard-line position has brought protests, with
critics saying that the Iraqi Constitution does not allow
limitations on where Iraqi citizens can live and work in
Iraq.

---------------------------------
ARTICLE 140 CONCERNS AND NEW IDPS
---------------------------------
8. (SBU) Abdullah claimed that Kirkuk is the only province
in Iraq where resettlement of Iraqi citizens is a problem. In
all the other provinces, he said, new arrivals have "a right
to be there." Abdullah said that when he questions the
government they attribute this to normalization efforts under
Article 140. "An influx of new arrivals will create problems
for the normalization process and for the census and
referendum, he said. Abdullah agrees that this is a concern,
but judges it as not comparable to the suffering of newly
displaced IDPs. He believes that the Provincial Government
could easily control any problems that might impact Article
140 implementation.

------------------------------------
ADMITTING IDPs: A FAIR SHARE ISSUE?
------------------------------------
9. (SBU) Abdullah seems to regard resettlement of new IDPS
as a fair share issue. He stated that Salah ad Din Province
has taken in 10,000 families from Baghdad and elsewhere,
while Ninewa has taken 8,000 and Kurdistan has taken 5,000.
Kirkuk, he said, has only taken 1500 families so far.
Abdullah stated that he is continuing his efforts to convince
PC Chairman Rizgar Ali and Governor Mustapha to allow more
people to stay, at least on a temporary basis.

------------------------
IDP CAMPS: NO VACANCIES
------------------------
10. (SBU) Asked where people are settling in the Province,
Abdullah said that the new arrivals can be grouped into three
"types": (1) those who immediately integrate into society,
and have money to rent housing and skills to allow them to
quickly obtain jobs; (2) those who stay with relatives or
friends; and (3) those with no resources. This last group
includes the people who end up in refugee camps or squatting
in various sites throughout the city. The majority of
recently arrived IDPs fall into this last group, said
Abdullah. Currently, he said, there is no space available in
the established IDP camps, and new arrivals without local
connections or resources are found squatting on public land
or in vacant government buildings around the city, in some
cases forming "informal" IDP camps.

-------------------------------------
DANGEROUS DATABASES AND IDP ESTIMATES
-------------------------------------
11. (SBU) Abdullah was asked to give a figure for the total
number of IDPs who have returned to the Province, but he
demurred, saying that his office does not keep statistics.
He finally provided what he called a very rough estimate of
20,000 to 25,000 families. Asked about database use, he said
his office does not maintain a database, because of the
political sensitivity of any sort of statistics involving
IDPs, new arrivals and ethnicity. He said that any of his
staff who attempted to collect statistics on the population
of the IDP camps or on the ethnic identities of returnees in
settled neighborhoods in Kirkuk would be "putting themselves
in danger."

---------------------
IDP CAMP ORGANIZATION
---------------------

BAGHDAD 00000621 003 OF 003


12. (SBU) Abdullah noted that each IDP camp has set up a
committee that distributes supplies and food and manages
daily operations. In some cases, these organizations were
set up and leaders were selected "by the political parties,"
whereas in other cases they arose through a process of
informal organization among the camp residents. In both
cases, the current leadership is well known to local
government, which is "used to dealing with them." To the
degree that MODM has statistics about the camps, Abdullah
said, it is provided through these organizations.

13. (SBU) MODM typically helps arrange the provision of
blankets, food and other supplies for basic needs to
destitute IDPs. Sources of funds for these items include the
local government and NGOS, according to Abdullah. One
organization, for example, recently gave food and housing
supplies for 400 families. To carry out its
responsibilities, his office has a staff of about 25,
"including guards." Abdullah noted that the staff often
works overtime on evenings and weekends, while receiving low
salaries. Many, he said, have resigned and others would like
to resign, due to the demanding work and low pay.

--------------------
US ASSISTANCE WANTED
--------------------
14. (SBU) Abdullah closed by providing two "proposals" for
US assistance to his office. First, he said the US should be
a "partner" in the IDP issue, because this issue had its
origin in US action (i.e., the removal or Saddam and
subsequent movement of people and most recently because of
the strife and security crackdown in Baghdad), and because
the US is perceived as having the abilities to come up with
new solutions. Second, Abdullah noted that while MODM has a
good relationship with the Governor, it is still necessary
that the US encourage the Provincial government to be "more
transparent" and "easier" with IDPs, by, for example,
increasing the number of temporary permits to stay in the
province.

15. (SBU) COMMENT: Abdullah's information confirmed much of
what we already knew about his Ministry's activities in
Kirkuk. Our sense is that they have little involvement with
Kurdish IDPs ) at least lately ) and are focusing their
efforts on caring for newly arriving IDPs coming from Baghdad
and other points in central and southern Iraq. Abdullah
feels frustrated by his lack of resources, but, as indicated
above, MODM is not the main executioner of assistance
programs, and lacks the capacity to assume the role of NGOs
that are already distributing assistance on their own.
Abdullah's comment about the IDP camps' governing committees
is intriguing and we intend to investigate their structure
and functions in more detail. END COMMENT.
KHALILZAD

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