Unfortunately, it looks like that these people have been exploited by a number of people, let’s say ‘travel agents’, human traffickers, some political merchants, if I may say that, and of course some people from within Belarus as well. These people did not leave this area under any sort of pressure, and they were not legally pursued, or imposed with any restrictions on their travel, so most of these people travelled freely on their own will through airlines and official channels.
“After they went to Belarus, spending some time in hotels, they were directed to the border to cross into the European Union. Unfortunately, the situation with the cold weather and, from what we’ve seen from TV and video footage, it’s very concerning because some of them have children, and these children are innocent people who are unfortunately paying the price for what looks like to be a political game.
“Many want to go to Europe in search of a different opportunity; it’s not the flee of desperation. They’re going there [to seek different opportunities] and I hope that the truth is told and the world knows that these people went there like every other immigrant wants to travel and go in search of different opportunities in different parts of the world, but if they want to return, they can always return here.
“In fact, many of the people who have gone, have spent thousands of dollars to travel agents and some individuals. So, if they could come up with thousands of dollars to pay for their trip, I’m sure if they wanted to work together, they could have created their own jobs here. As we’ve seen in many parts of Kurdistan, I’ve seen entrepreneurs in Sulaimani, in Duhok, in Erbil, that have started their own small jobs and the government has also been supportive of them to do that.”