Iraq News - Local News - Baghdadpost

Refugee Iranian Kurds Call on KRG to Give Them Residency, So They Can Work and Receive Medical Care

Iranian Kurdish refugees living in the Kurdistan Region protested outside of the UN office in Erbil on Monday about their inability to obtain identity and residency cards issued by host governments Erbil and Baghdad, which are necessary to accomplish basic tasks like receiving medical care, getting a job, or registering property in their names.

The protesters called on the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to resolve the issue or for the UN to transfer them to other countries that will give them more rights.

“We cannot go to the hospitals because we do not have Iraqi National Cards,” one protester said.

“We only have passports and we are penalized if our passports expire…No one empathizes with our sorrows,” he continued.

“I have been here since 1983 and my case is political. My son is here right now and has been affected by my problems.”

The protester claimed that the status issue has been politicized in the context of disputes between Erbil and Baghdad, saying that their Iraqi ration cards have been canceled without explanation.

“I do not know who did that, the Iraqi government or the Kurdistan Regional Government,” he said.

Other protesters also said that they were frustrated about the lack of progress towards resolving their status.

“We are in very bad condition, we are like orphans…they do not answer us,” another protester said.

“If we do not have residency, they do not let us to pass the checkpoints. When we seek work, they do not give us jobs because we do not have residency [cards],” he added.

According to the latest report by the KRG’s Joint Crisis Coordination Center (JCC), there are 10,535 officially registered refugees from Iran living in the Kurdistan Region.

A third protester said that he has been in the Kurdistan Region for the last three years without a residency card.

“We just want our refugee rights, no more than that,” he said.

Some others have been in the Region for much longer and still face difficulties in obtaining residency.

A fourth protester said that she has lived in the Kurdistan Region for the past 41 years.

“Are the Kurdish people not a nation? Does the Kurdish nation deserve to be disrespected here?” she asked rhetorically.

“I have brought up five children here, though I do not know how with the poverty, displacement, and destitution. I just have a UN-issued residency card,” she continued.

“Our children are not recognized anywhere.”