Cablegate: Unhcr Completes Profile of Kurds On Jordanian
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS AMMAN 007017
DEPT FOR NEA AND PRM; DHS FOR BCIS
CPA BAGHDAD FOR BARTLETT AND CARTER
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREF PREL IZ JO
SUBJECT: UNHCR COMPLETES PROFILE OF KURDS ON JORDANIAN
BORDER; REPORTS ONLY 4,000 KURDS LEFT IN IRAQ'S AL TASH
REF: AMMAN 4306
1. (U) In an October 21 meeting with Amman- and Cairo-based
refcoords, UNHCR Sr. Protection Officer Jacqueline Parlevliet
reported that UNHCR completed its profile of the 1,070 asylum
seekers currently held in no-man's land between the Iraqi and
Jordanian border posts. 1,065 individuals (189 cases) are
Iranian Kurds from Iraq's Al Tash refugee camp. The
remaining five individuals are Iranians who were held as POWs
in Iraq following the Iran-Iraq war. Of the 189 Al Tash
cases, only 141 have records at UNHCR's Baghdad office and
only 33 of those cases have been interviewed by UNHCR Baghdad
for durable solution options.
2. (U) By mid-November, UNHCR plans to identify cases for
voluntary repatriation to Iran, local integration in northern
Iraq, and resettlement in a third country. Parlevliet
cautioned that UNHCR's limited presence in Iraq as well as
the lack of any formal agreement between CPA and Iran on
voluntary repatriation of refugees likely would limit UNHCR's
ability to move on the first two options. Resettlement
cases, however, could be ready for presentation to embassies
by mid-December (including to the U.S., should we agree to
consider the Kurds). Noting that resettlement processing
would be difficult from no-man's land, Parlevliet said UNHCR
would prefer to move the Kurds from no-man's land to the
UNHCR refugee camp at Ruweished, Jordan. UNHCR would then be
able to bus the Kurds to the UNHCR office in Amman for
resettlement interviews, as UNHCR recently did for the 77
Sudanese and Somali refugees from the Ruweished refugee camp.
Parlevliet added that UNHCR likely would need some help
persuading Jordanian authorities to allow the Kurds to be
moved from no-man's land.
3. (U) Separately, Parlevliet reported that only 4,000 of
the original 14,000 Al Tash Kurds remain in the Al Tash
refugee camp outside Ramadi, Iraq. Due to its very limited
presence in Iraq, UNHCR has been unable to confirm where the
Kurds have gone but anecdotal evidence indicates that most
have relocated to northern Iraq, near Sulaimaniyah.
Parlevliet believes that the diminished numbers at Al Tash
camp have significantly reduced the risk of a "pull factor"
once UNHCR begins identifying refugees for resettlement.
4. (SBU) Comment: New Prime Minister Faisal al-Fayez told
the Ambassador October 28 that he fully supports the previous
PM's decision to allow the Ruweished refugee camp to remain
open through December 31. That said, we believe the GOJ is
increasingly serious in its intent to close the camp early in
the new year and move any unresolved cases to the no-man's
land camp. For these reasons, we doubt the GOJ would
consider moving the Kurds from no-man's land to the Ruweished
camp. Our best hope is to persuade the GOJ to keep the
Ruweished camp open until the Sudanese and Somali refugees
referred to the USRP are able to travel. Amman and Cairo
refcoords will also continue their efforts to find solutions
for the no-man's land Kurds, including the screening and
referral of refugees who may be appropriate candidates for
resettlement in the U.S.
5. (U) Baghdad minimize considered.