ROCHESTER, NY – MONDAY, JUNE 30, 2014 – The American Red Cross has recently helped former Iraqi and American soldier Mustafa Almansur receive a Certificate of Detention, the first step in helping the Rochester businessman receive reparations for his time as a prisoner of war.
During the first Gulf War, thousands of Iraqis spent time as Prisoners of War in camps in Saudi Arabia after they were forced from their homeland. Members of The International Committee of the Red Cross visited these refugees, including Mustafa, during their imprisonment.
After the war, Mustafa was among many of these refugees who came to the United States seeking asylum. The government of Iraq has since created a program to provide reparations to these Iraqi nationals. With the help of the International Committee of the Red Cross, individuals who were prisoners of war can obtain a certificate of detention which proves their status as a refugee who fled Iraq following the first Gulf War. Iraqis who live in the U.S. apply for these certificates through their local American Red Cross Chapter, which Mustafa did so through the Greater Rochester Chapter.
“I am so grateful to the United States and the American Red Cross for helping me”, said Mustafa. “I have seen the good work the U.S. has done in Iraq first hand and they have done a lot to help the country.”
These reparations do not make up for the pain and suffering of these refugees but do acknowledge past injustices and show the Iraqi Government’s desire to improve life for past and present citizens.
More about Mustafa Almansur:
Mustafa was born in Basra, Iraq in 1969. He served in the Iraq Army from 1988 until 1991 when he became a prisoner of war. Mustafa remained a prisoner of war until he was freed in 1994 and went to the United States. He became a United States citizen in 2000 and a member of the U.S. Army in 2002. Two years later, Mustafa moved to Rochester where he worked for Xerox and Kodak until 2004 before buying his convenience store he still owns today on Monroe Avenue.