Announcement: Status of Bardarash Transit Facility. April 2022

Further to the agreement between Joint Crisis Coordination Centre and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), a decision has been taken to retain Bardarash transit site as a temporary facility only. As such, Bardarash is not to be used as a facility for long-term stay and asylum seekers with relevant documentation from the authorities currently residing in Bardarash will need to proceed to an alternative location before the end of 2022.

Bardarash transit facility was opened in October 2019 at the onset of the influx from Northeast Syria as a temporary site. It was aimed at providing short-term accommodation for newly arrived asylum seekers until they were registered and obtain their humanitarian residency permits from the Kurdistan Regional Government. Upon receiving their documentation, individuals/families were to leave the transit facility and make their own alternative arrangement, including to join relatives in urban settings. Over 18,000 spontaneously left the transit facility in 2020 and 2021.

Bardarash was never planned to host asylum seekers for an extended stay, or to be converted into a long-term formal camp. Due to this, there has been no shelter upgrade since its reopening in October 2019 and there will be no shelter upgrade in the future either. The tents and emergency services that have been provided in Bardarash transit facility were adapted to a temporary stay but do not offer appropriate living conditions for a long period of time, placing residents in a precarious situation.

In coordination with government counterparts and in an effort to support asylum seekers in proceeding to their alternative location outside Bardarash transit facility, the following options are available for those currently still residing in Bardarash. Asylum seekers who had previously departed the camp will not be readmitted to the camp during this process. The options include moving to, or joining their relatives residing in, urban locations where refugees have access to public services. Vulnerable families without any out-of-camp option may be relocated on a voluntarily basis to Gawilan refugee camp. The decision to choose between these options is on a voluntary basis, and residents are encouraged to inquire about each option and services available in urban areas and Gawilan, as well as consult with their families and friends when making the decision.

Staying in Bardarash transit facility is not an option, as humanitarian partners will stop the provision of services by the end of 2022.

All individuals, currently residing in Bardarash transit facility, will be counselled and informed of the timelines, and by when families can confirm their decision. A household intention survey will be conducted with each family to confirm their decision in the coming period.

For any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to the HelpDesk located at Bardarash Community Centre directly.

Humanitarian organizations – including UN agencies and NGOs – have a zero-tolerance policy for sexual exploitation and abuse. If you feel you have been discriminated against or have been asked by someone working in the humanitarian sector (UN agency/mission, NGO, or government actor) to do something inappropriate, or demanded any kind of sexual favour or activity from you in exchange for their help, please report the incident to [email protected], [email protected]. All complaints are handled with high confidentiality with consideration for survivor/witness safety.

All humanitarian assistance and services are available to you in Iraq for free. Paying for assistance will not make you eligible for assistance or give you any advantage, including for resettlement. Always be alert to protect yourself, your family, and your community from fraud. If someone is offering you assistance in exchange for money or services: pause, reflect, walk away, and report. Reporting a fraud allegation or concern will not negatively affect you or the assistance you receive from UNHCR.