Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The New Yorker

The Pigeon Boy
And Other Fugitives from ISIS
By Robin Wright 
Mohammed Hussein, a six-year-old Iraqi boy, was born with a condition known as glanular hypospadias, in which the opening for the urethra is not in its usual place at the tip of the penis. When his father, Saad Hussein, pulled the child’s trousers down to show me, his mother and five sisters seemed unsurprised. Need had long ago superseded modesty. We were clustered together on the floor of a small tent in Baharka, a camp outside Erbil, in northern Iraq, for people who have fled ISIS but who haven’t left the country. The family has been quartered there for almost two years.

The camp holds some four thousand Internally Displaced People (I.D.P.s), as they’re officially known. Legally, they aren’t refugees—they remain in their home country—but they are often worse off than refugees, who can hope for aid from the countries that take them in, or from the international community. I.D.P.s remain at the mercy of governments at war, receiving limited aid and enduring all the inherent dangers of war zones.
“Access to safety without delay is the major problem faced by I.D.P.s in Iraq, due to constantly shifting warfronts and the need for security screening to prevent infiltration by ISIS,” Bruno Geddo, the representative in Iraq of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, told me. “A related problem is restrictions to freedom of movement and family separation on security grounds.” I.D.P.s are frequently limited in where they are allowed to go; sometimes, they aren’t even allowed to leave the camps. The displaced often become the forgotten people.
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