Aram Sheikh Mohammed in Tuesday's meeting with the delegation of International Committee of the Red Cross . Photo: Rudaw.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — A Kurdish official in the central government parliament in Baghdad said Monday that internally displaced persons (IDPs) now make up 35 percent of the current population of the Kurdistan region.
“According to data of September 2015, some 3.2 million people have internally been displaced in Iraq, and the Kurdistan region has adopted the majority of that figure, in the sense that they have made up 35 percent of the recent population of the region,” said Aram Sheikh Mohammed, the Iraqi parliament deputy speaker, in a public meeting with Peter Maurer, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
According to a press release following the meeting, Mohammed claimed that “an estimated 3.5 million people live in ISIS-held territories, and whenever they seize an opportunity, they will definitely flee ISIS."
According to Mohammed, ISIS has not just committed mass killing, abducted civilians and ethnic cleansing, but also destroyed economic infrastructure, therefore “even if [refugees’] hometowns are liberated from ISIS, it is hard for them to return home because their homes are already collapsed from the aftermath of war.”
In the meeting, the ICRC was asked to help the Iraqi Immigration ministry to hold an international convention in an effort to collect goods and services for Iraqi IDPs.
The Kurdish region already hosts some 250,000 refugees from Syria and 2 million Iraqi IDPs, mostly from Anbar and Mosul provinces who were forced to flee their homes when ISIS seized swathes of Iraq and Syria and began persecuting Shiites and religious minority groups.