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Red Cross assists Azerbaijani families to return home from Iraq

28 October 2017 [16:21] - TODAY.AZ

By  Trend

The International Committee of the Red Cross said it provides assistance to some 1,300 women and children of around 20 nationalities, who are detained in Iraq, near Mosul, and helps to contact with their embassies.

"We try to reestablish contact between these individuals and their families in other countries. Additionally, we are registering all unaccompanied children and following up with authorities to assist with a determination of their best interests, including safe and dignified return to their family," the ICRC press office told Trend.

The press office refused to specify the number and nationalities of these people, adding "we put the families in contact with their embassies if they request us to do so."

The aid agency responds to their immediate humanitarian needs, including the provision of food, hygiene items, medical treatment, as well as improved access to water and sanitation.

Regarding repatriation and return, the press office noted that this is a bilateral matter between the Iraqi government and the countries of origin of these people.

"Transfers must only take place in accordance with international law, in particular with the principle which prohibits a State from transferring to another State a person who faces the risk of violation of certain fundamental rights (i.e. principle of non-refoulement). Special attention needs to be paid to children that are not accompanied by an adult, and therefore find themselves in an especially precarious situation," the press office concluded.

Thousands of foreigners have been fighting for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and an unknown number of them are now detained.

More than 300 of the detained foreign families in Iraq came from Turkey, many others from former Soviet states, such as Tajikistan, Azerbaijan and Russia, Reuters earlier reported citing preliminary figures from the Iraqi army.

Previously, Iraq’s Charge D'affaires to Azerbaijan Fadhil Awad Al Shuwaili told reporters in Baku that the Iraqi government is negotiating with Azerbaijan over the fate of the remaining Azerbaijani children being kept in Iraq.

The diplomat recalled that one of the Azerbaijani children was brought home and handed over to local authorities.

Two Azerbaijani children – two-year-old Khadija and four-year-old Abdulla were found in Syrian territories retaken from ISIL. They were brought to Iraq by the security forces after these territories were freed.


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