Located near the city of Arbil, the Mahmur Camp was established in 1994 as border villages in Turkey were evacuated.
About 12 thousand people currently live in the camp, and its official status under the UN was given in 1998.
It is estimated that more than 6 thousand of the inhabitants are children who were born there.
Residents of Mahmur are from the North Kurdistan provinces of Siirt, Şırnak and Hakkari. When they were forced by the Turkish state to migrate from their homeland between 1992 and 1994, they took refuge in Iraq. First they were placed in the Atrush camp and in Mahmur after 1999.
Mahmur camp has its own administration. The people's assembly of 45 residents and the town council consisting of three women and 12 men govern Mahmur.
The municipal council is elected on a yearly basis.
Services and infrastructure works are achieved with funds provided by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and Kurdistan Regional Government.
There are three primary schools, 1 secondary school, 1 high school and 3 kindergargarden in Mahmur. 100 volunteer teachers serve around 3,500 students.
Courses are in Kurdish. Turkish, like English, is taught as a second language. Some high school graduates continue higher education at Salahaddin University in Arbil.
One of the specialties people in Mahmur have is their ability to fatten up sheep by natural methods. Thanks to their ancient know-how, they are popular in the region.
Polat Bozan, a resident in Mahmur, crossed the border with his family in 1994 when he was forced to be a village guard of the state. He is from Hakkari. He says:
"At the beginning of 1990's the state was setting the villages on fire to evacuate them and the summary killings were increasing. The people living under these conditions in the border area migrated either to western cities in Turkey or took refugee to South Kurdistan. I was working in the post office when I was in Turkey. I owned two houses and some land. The state sequestered them and gave them to the village guards. Hakkari was my homeland, the land of my ancestors. We were forced to leave".