Iraq/Saudi Arabia: List of Iraqi deserters in the Rafah refugee camp compiled by camp officials; whether Iraqi deserters were sent back to Iraq; reasons for remaining in the Rafah Camp for more than five years; organization responsible for the selection criteria for the resettlement in third countries of asylum
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||16 September 1999|
|Citation / Document Symbol||ZZZ32703.E|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Iraq/Saudi Arabia: List of Iraqi deserters in the Rafah refugee camp compiled by camp officials; whether Iraqi deserters were sent back to Iraq; reasons for remaining in the Rafah Camp for more than five years; organization responsible for the selection criteria for the resettlement in third countries of asylum, 16 September 1999, ZZZ32703.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6ad7b80.html [accessed 19 May 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
The following information was provided during a 9 September 1999 telephone interview with the person responsible for the Middle East with the U.S. Committee For Refugees (USCR) in Washington. The representative was closely involved in the resettlement in the U.S. of Iraqis from the Rafah Camp and has monitored the situation with several journeys to Saudi Arabia.
Lists of Iraqi deserters (ID) and Prisoners of War (POWs) were compiled by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). As reported by the USCR representative, "ID and POWs who expressed their fear of persecution to the ICRC upon their return to Iraq were sent to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) for resettlement in a third country".
Around 4,000 Iraqi deserters were sent back to Iraq against their will in 1992 only. The source did not have information on their treatment upon their return.
Many reasons can explain why a person would remain in the Rafah Camp for more than five years. Many Iraqis in the Rafah Camp were reluctant to leave Iraq and resettle in a third country, and, as a result, were waiting for a change of situation inside Iraq. Some countries of resettlement, such as the U.S., were sensitive about the security risk involved in the operation and were conducting extensive background checks for criminal elements among the candidates for resettlement. For example, the U.S. decided to refuse all Iraqi army officers. The USCR representative added that the main factor contributing to a person remaining in the Rafah Camp for more than five years was the quotas imposed by the resettlement countries.
The UNHCR was in charge of the resettlement program for ID and POWs in the Rafah Camp. Each country provided their own national criteria for potential candidates to which the UNHCR was responsible of finding the person that matched them.
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.
US Committee For Refugees (USCR). 9 September 1999. Telephone interview with the person responsible for the Middle East.