Thursday, December 24, 2009

Faili Kurds; life from camp to camp


Rudaw, Erbil- More than 100 Faili Kurds families live under harsh humanitarian conditions in Khanaqeen, northeast Baghdad, after returning home from camps in Iran.

Following the fall of Baath regime in 2003, hundreds of Faili Kurds returned from exile and took shelter in makeshift camps in parts of Iraq. Bakhtyari (Happiness) is one of the camps that house more than 100 families. The camp lacks basics services like road access, “the name is the camp is Bakhtyari but these are the most unfortunate families (to live under such conditions),” Ali Faili, a member of the Kurdistan parliament who represents Faili Kurds, told Rudaw. “Their problems are can’t be solved by giving them a few blankets,” he said referring to the aids that have been given to the families by humanitarian organizations.

Upon Mr. Faili’s request, the Kurdistan Parliament has formed a committee to visit the camp and evaluate their needs.

Faili Kurds, who are Shais, are victims of the Baath regime’s ethnic cleansing policies. They were initially expelled from Iraq in 1970s during the era of Ahmed Hassan Bakir. Then in 1980 the Baath government, under the leadership of fthe ormer dictator Saddam Hussein, stripped thousands of Faili Kurds of Iraqi citizenships and expelled them to Iran. The regime accused them of being Iranians.

Mr. Faili believes that the former Baath regime was concerned about the economic power of Faili Kurds, “After the Jewish people left Iraq who were controlling the Iraqi economy, Faili Kurds replaced them,” he said. “In terms of economic powers, they (Faili Kurds) replaced (the Jewish people).”

Nearly half million Faili Kurds were stripped of them Iraqi identities and expelled to Iran by the Baath regime, according to human rights groups.

After the Kurdish uprising of 1991, some of the families who were members of the Iraqi Kurdish parties returned to Iraqi Kurdistan, but many of them stayed in camps in Iran.

Ali Faili said that most of the refugees refused to return to Iraq following the 1991 uprising, because their hometowns were under the control of the Baath regime.

He also says that many of the families who have returned have not been compensated, “They return from Iranian camps to reside in Iraqi camps.”

© Rudaw