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Cablegate: Sudanese Refugees in Anbar Ask for Resettlement

VZCZCXRO7199
PP RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #1603 1361455
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 161455Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1188
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS BAGHDAD 001603

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

CAIRO AND AMMAN FOR REFCOORDS, STATE FOR PRM

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREF PREL IZ
SUBJECT: SUDANESE REFUGEES IN ANBAR ASK FOR RESETTLEMENT

REF: 2006 BAGHDAD 4465

1. (SBU) This is an action cable. See paragraph 6 for action.

2. (SBU) SUMMARY: Darfourian refugees camped in west Anbar
continue to ask for third country resettlement. While UNHCR
and MNF-I are still meeting most of the refugees' basic
needs, morale is low after two years living in precarious
security and under harsh weather conditions in the desert.
UNHCR has referred the caseload to the US Refugee Admissions
Program (USRAP). End Summary.

3. (U) On April 30, Embassy Refugee Coordinator (RefCoord)
accompanied UNHCR for a visit to a group of 137 Darfourian
refugees camped 47 miles east of the Iraqi-Jordanian border.
The refugees left Baghdad and headed to Jordan in May of
2005, but Jordanian authorities denied them admissions into
the country. They camped at the border itself until Iraqi
patrols forced them out of the area in June of 2005. Rather
than returning to Baghdad, the refugees relocated to their
present location, where they have remained for the past two
years.

4. (U) Refugee leaders confirmed RefCoord's assessment that
the refugees' living conditions had not changed substantially
since a joint UNHCR-Embassy Baghdad team visited them in
November of 2006 (reftel). There are no medical facilities
anywhere near the camp. Education for the approximately 40
children in the group is limited to two hours of non-formal
instruction a day. UNHCR's implementing partner has built
better latrines, but water and sanitation conditions are
still below minimum standards in disaster response (a.k.a.
Sphere standards): the latrines lack water access points
nearby, and there are no shower or bathing areas. The
refugees stated that their nutritional needs were being met,
and were grateful for the periodic MNF-I supply of bottled
water. Some of the tents were very worn down (Note: UNHCR
committed to replace some of the tents as soon as possible.
End note.)

5. (U) RefCoord noticed that the refugees' morale had fallen
significantly since November. The refugee leaders complained
to UNHCR about the lack of progress in finding a solution to
their situation. Privately, one of the refugees mentioned
that there had been two suicide attempts in the last six
months, and that many suffered from depression. The refugees
also expressed concern about their lack of security. The
refugees' vulnerability in this volatile province was
underscored last February, when the camp's water deposit was
hit three times during a shoot-out between insurgents and
Coalition Forces in the proximity of the camp.

6. (SBU) Action request: Embassy requests an update on the
status of UNHCR's referral of the group to the US Refugee
Admissions Program (USRAP). Should the Department accept
UNHCR's referral, Embassy encourages the Department to
respond favorably to posts' reftel recommendation to pursue
the use of Camp Korean Village as a processing site for the
group.
CROCKER

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