IRBIL: Consul General of Kuwait in Irbil Dr Omar Al-Kandari lays the foundation stone of a center for registration of refugees and IDPs in Irbil Governorate, Kurdistan Region, North Iraq, yesterday. – KUNA

IRBIL: Consul General of the State of Kuwait in Irbil Dr Omar Al-Kandari laid yesterday the foundation stone of a center for registration of refugees and IDPs in Irbil Governorate, Kurdistan Region, North Iraq. The project, belonging to the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is funded by Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED). The ceremony gathered Minister of Interior of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Rebar Ahmad, Governor of Irbil, members of the Kuwaiti diplomatic mission in the region and UNHCR Representative in Iraq Nicole Epting.

Kandari said in a statement to the press that the project is part of cooperation between the UN Refugee Agency and KFAED. It is one of the fruits of the humanitarian pledging conferences, hosted by Kuwait, in support of the Syrian refugees in neighboring countries, particularly Iraq, he noted. “The refugee registration office will serve in accounting for all refugees in the region in collaboration with the KRG,” Kandari said, affirming that the regional government offered indispensable help for the successful launching of the project. The State of Kuwait will continue assisting the Iraqi people, including the refugees and internally displaced people in all fields, he pledged.

On a similar note, Nicole Epting said the project falls in the framework of longstanding cooperation between the UN agencies, notably the UNHCR, on one hand, and the Kuwaiti aid agencies on the other hand. Appreciating humanitarian role of Kuwait and the Kuwaiti aid agencies, she said their donations helped improve the living conditions of the refugees in Iraq. The newly refugee registration office will provide legal and social assistance to all refugees in the region, Epting said, noting that the office will work with competent agencies in the region to facilitate issuance of residence permit for the refugees.

Meanwhile, Rebar Ahmed expressed gratitude to Kuwait for its assistances for the refugees and IDPs. Kuwait’s contributions helped the KRG continue essential aid for the refugees in the region amid the current challenging conditions, he pointed out. In 2017, the UN Refugee Agency and KFAED signed an agreement under which the Fund offered a grant of $10 million for the Agency’s aid effort for the Syrian refugee camps in north Iraq. The UN Agency estimates the Kurdistan region hosts nearly 956,750 refugees and IDPs. – KUNA