Cablegate: Ngos Cope with Kidnapping Threats in Iraq, Respond
UNCLAS AMMAN 002752
DEPT FOR NEA/NGA AND PRM/ANE
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC EAID IZ JO PHUM PREF PREL
SUBJECT: NGOS COPE WITH KIDNAPPING THREATS IN IRAQ, RESPOND
TO NEEDS IN FALLUJAH
1. A quick survey of NGO representatives in Amman revealed
that most relief agencies had pulled their international
staff from Iraq in early April in anticipation of violence
surrounding the April 9 anniversary of the fall of Baghdad
and the Arba'aeen Shi'a pilgrimage. As IRD Iraq
Representative Richard Harmon explained to refcoord on April
8, the convergence of the anniversary with the Shi'a
pilgrimage seemed to create inviting opportunities for
terrorists and hence greater security risks for humanitarian
workers. Because of these risks, Harmon gave his
international staff an extended Easter holiday and asked them
not to return to work until mid-April. NGO Coordinating
Committee for Iraq (NCCI) Representative Elodie
Cantier-Aristide confirmed on April 12 that most NGOs had
instituted similar policies and pulled their international
staff out of Iraq well before the current violence and
kidnappings began. Following the kidnapping of international
relief workers and missionaries, UNAMI NGO Coordinator Maura
Lynch said that most NGO security officers have recommended
that all international staff depart Iraq immediately.
2. In spite of the kidnapping threats, some NGOs continue to
provide emergency relief, particularly in the Fallujah area.
Cantier-Aristide confirmed that two NGO relief convoys
entered Fallujah April 10-11, organized by Islamic Relief,
Premiere Urgence and UPT. The convoys delivered medical
supplies and some non-food items donated by UNHCR. ICRC and
the GOJ also sent separate medical convoys to Fallujah.
According to Lynch, Iraqi mosques are providing ad hoc
assistance to civilians fleeing Fallujah, most of whom are
headed to family and friends in the Baghdad area. IOM is
preparing to provide further assistance to Iraqis displaced
by the current round of fighting but Lynch cautioned that UN
security restrictions will affect IOM's ability to respond.
3. CPA Baghdad minimize considered.