In a memorandum sent to the UNHCR chief and to the Foreign Minister of Iraq, the Eritrean People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) requested for an urgent attention and action to solve the documentation problems of the small Eritrean community in Baghdad.
The EPDP memorandum, dated 15 November, was addressed both to Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Alhakim and to UNHCR High Commissioner Filippo Grandi, with copies to his legal protection aides. In it, the EPDP noted that, according to information it obtained from Baghdad, long-time resident Eritreans are currently facing documentation problems because the local UNHCR office delayed to renew their expired papers while Iraqi authorities are asking for renewed refugee documents in order to let them have refugee status in the country.
The Eritrean refugees, most of them veterans of the liberation struggle who could not return home after 1991, say that the UNHCR office in Iraq is not renewing their refugee documents alleging that “the situation is changing in Eritrea” and that they “may go home soon.”
The EPDP memo stressed that the situation in Eritrea is not changing and strongly appealed to the UNHCR and the Government of Iraq to address the documentation problems being faced by the old caseload of Eritrean refugees in Iraq.