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Duhok artist project hopes to ease anxiety, frustration of refugees

By Rudaw 20/6/2018
Children at a camp for displaced Iraqis in the Kurdistan Region pose. File photo: Rudaw
Children at a camp for displaced Iraqis in the Kurdistan Region pose. File photo: Rudaw

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Duhok is marking World Refugee Day on Wednesday with several activities and the opening of a workshop for artists with officials calling on more international support for such programs.


"Annually, we as the Humanitarian Affairs Board, we commemorate this event of World Refugee Day in cooperation with the UNHCR,” Salim Sae’d, the head of the Humanitarian Affairs Board for Duhok’s media office, told Rudaw.


The Kurdistan Region hosts 1.35 million IDPs and Syrian refugees, according to data released in May by its Joint Crisis Coordination Center (JCC).


"We held it this year as well to at least ease the anxiety and frustration of refugees and to hold intellectual and artistic activities,” Sae’d added.


A workshop for artists was established in Domiz Camp in collaboration with UNFPA. Its commencement will be in the presence of Duhok's governor and France's consulate general on Wednesday.


"We as the Duhok province would like to implement many projects, but support is lacking," Sae'd explained, saying international support has decreased. "We won't say there is no support at all, but it isn't at a level we would like to see."


The art made at the camp will be exhibited.


"It frankly is a very big place that can be a great support for artists in the Domiz camp, especially Syrian refugees," Sozdar Berazi, the manager of the Home of Artists, told Rudaw. 

He explained that the center has the best voice recording devices, a good studio, and cameras. Then the artists can propose to work on their project at the workshop. 

He added that projects promoting Kurdish art and folklore are popular, and the more professional the projects are, the better they can be supported.


The camp was recently visited by Hollywood star and humanitarian activist Angelina Jolie.


Hoshang Mohamed, the coordinator of the JCC, pointed out that in addition to 39 camps across the Kurdistan Region, many IDPs and refugees reside with host families.



He called on the EU Regional Trust Fund to develop targeted programs in coordination with local authorities.



"It is of critical value for #EUTFSyria to develop country-specific policies in coordination with the governments in the region hosting the Syrian refugees and impacted by the crisis to increase program effectiveness," tweeted Mohammed on Wednesday.



UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated on Wednesday that in 2017 a person was displaced every two seconds.


“I am deeply concerned to see more and more situations where refugees are not receiving the protection they need and to which they are entitled,” he added.


“We need to re-establish the integrity of the international refugee protection regime. In today’s world, no community or country providing safe refuge to people fleeing war or persecution should be alone and unsupported.


“We stand together, or we fail.”


More than 2 million Iraqis remain displaced because of the ISIS conflict. In December 2016, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared the total military defeat of ISIS in Iraq.


Bruno Geddo, the UNCHR representative in Iraq, noted that peace is the best solution to the refugee crisis.

“World Refugee Day is a time for reflection and solidarity with people displaced by violence and persecution the world over. In this turbulent and unpredictable time, remembering refugees and internally displaced people is more topical than ever," noting that the Kurdistan Region houses "97 percent of the Syrian refugees in Iraq."

Last updated at 11:54 a.m.

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