Refugee crisis

Minister Müller ends two-day visit to northern Iraq

"The Kurds are providing outstanding support to people fleeing IS terror in Iraq and the war in Syria."

Visit to northern Iraq: German Minister Gerd Müller visits the Kirkuk Centre for trauma therapy

02.10.2014 |

German Minister Gerd Müller has ended his two-day visit to northern Iraq. He paid tribute to the solidarity of the people in the Kurdish towns and communities there, saying:

"We will scale up our support for the Kurdish people who are showing outstanding solidarity with the people who have fled IS terror in Iraq and the civil war in Syria. What these women, men and children have suffered is beyond words. That is why we are not only helping to expand the infrastructure. One of our priorities is to help provide psychosocial care for the refugees. Many women and children will be suffering for years to come from what they have gone through. We want to help them find new hope for the future."

On Wednesday, Minister Müller visited the Kirkuk Centre for trauma therapy, which the BMZ is supporting through Misereor. The Minister talked to refugee families and to Yezidi victims of brutal crimes committed by IS terrorists.

Müller met Nechirvan Barzani, the Prime Minister of the Kurdish regional government, several members of the cabinet and the archbishop of Erbil, who has also taken in refugees.

German Minister Gerd Müller meets Nechirvan Barzani, the Prime Minister of the Kurdish regional government.

The Minister and his delegation visited two refugee camps, where they got a firsthand impression of the work done by the World Food Programme and UNICEF – two organisations with which the BMZ cooperates. In August, Minister Müller had already increased the support for northern Iraq by 20 million euros.

Since January, 1.8 million people have been displaced from their homes in Iraq, roughly half of them children. Almost 900,000 internally displaced persons have sought refuge in the Kurdish region in northern Iraq. According to the United Nations, up to 700 children have been killed or suffered violence in the past few months. Many women and children have been abducted. As the fighting continues, the number of refugees is likely to rise even further.

That is why Minister Müller called on people in Germany: "Open your hearts and donate to the aid organisations. They are tireless in their work, here in Iraq as elsewhere. With more than 50 million people displaced, this is the worst refugee crisis of the last 50 years. It is a huge challenge for the international community and we all need to contribute. The new European Commission should respond without further delay, bring together responsibilities and use available resources to make a special one billion euro commitment to tackle this refugee crisis. The EU has to act."

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