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Iraq: Concern Over Human Trafficking Allegations

Iraq: Senior UN Official Concerned Over Human Trafficking Allegations

The top United Nations official in Iraq voiced concern today over the plight of hundreds of foreign labourers enticed to the country with the promise of work only to be left bitterly disappointed.

The case of over 1,000 workers stranded at Baghdad International Airport (BIAP) after being brought into Iraq by international contractors, which has been reported in the media, is not an isolated occurrence, said Staffan de Mistura, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq.

“The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) takes the allegations of human trafficking by contractors in Iraq very seriously and is concerned about their predicament,” said the Special Representative.

“The case in BIAP is one that has made public headlines but we are aware of other cases, some of which have reached relevant courts, and we hope will also be addressed in accordance with international labour law standards,” he added.

Mr. de Mistura said that the results of an assessment of the BIAP situation conducted by UNAMI coincide with a similar International Organization for Migration (IOM) evaluation, and expected the relevant authorities and contractors to ensure that legally recognized standards of care for the workers are respected and enforced.

Welcoming indications that those directly involved in the BIAP situation are examining the issue, he said that he hoped it will soon be resolved, “so that the suffering of these people, whose hopes have been shattered and who have had to endure severe hardship and disappointment, is rapidly brought to an end.”

ENDS

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