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 Care homes neglected in oil-rich Iraqi Kurdistan

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Care homes neglected in oil-rich Iraqi Kurdistan  19.8.2012 
By Ruwayda Mustafah Rabar - Kurdish Rights

One of the main halls in the care home for men. It has one air conditioner and there is no privacy for any of the people in care. Their blankets are washed often, but still have lingering scent of urine on them. All Photos by: Ruwayda Mustafah Rabar/
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These are the beds for each person in care.

In the small unattended Garden, messes like this are often found.  
August 19, 2012

ERBIL-Hewlêr, Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — The government based care home in Erbil [Helwer] is home to institutional and ministerial negligence. For the past 3 months we have actively monitored both their living conditions and health. There are three main carers that look after them and ensure they are cleaned throughout the day. The carers wash their blankets, clean their beds, and change their diapers from 7 AM until 5 PM. During night only supervisors are at the care home, and despite the mess the people in care create, there are no carers to look after them.

Care homes are under the superintendence of Minister of Labour and Social Affairs. Ms Asos Najeeb Abdullah was reappointed in her post in the seventh cabinet, on 5 April 2012. We contacted her ministry about the living conditions of people in care, and the necessity of immediate governmental attention. Unfortunately, we could not get an appointment to see her regarding this matter. However, two days later she visited the care home. The pictures were widely published on Facebook pages, where she appears to hug and clap with the people in care.

In an interview with one of the men in care, known as Mam Qadir, he explained his situation to us. He said, “Please hospitalise me, I can’t continue living here anymore, I just want to die”. Mam Qadir can’t walk because both of his legs have become extremely weak. He has been in the care home for over 3 years, and says “Life in care is unbearable. We are just waiting to die”.

The care home needs to be regulated better, and the Kurdistan Regional Government has failed to do that. The government only pays 140,000 ID per month towards carers to work full-time, which is just over $100. As a result, no one has been forthcoming to work in the care house for the night shifts. The carers that work between the hours of 7-5 are privately funded by generous people.

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