Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Iraqi Refugee Crisis

Since November 2006, Refugees International has led the call for increased assistance to Iraqis forced from their homes by the violence in their country.

One in five Iraqis is now displaced.
The UN estimates that almost 5 million Iraqis have been displaced by violence in their country, the vast majority of which have fled since 2003. Over 2.4 million have vacated their homes for safer areas within Iraq, 1.5 million are now living in Syria, and over 1 million refugees inhabit Jordan, Iran, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey and Gulf States.

Most Iraqis are determined to be resettled to Europe or North America, and few consider return to Iraq an option. Iraqis have no legal work options in most host countries and are increasingly desperate and in need of humanitarian assistance.

They face challenges in finding housing, obtaining food, and have trouble accessing host countries’ health and education systems. Their resources depleted, small numbers of Iraqis have returned to Iraq in the past few months – between 28,000-60,000 people – but Iraq’s struggling government recently warned that it can’t accommodate large numbers of returns. Most of those who returned were subsequently displaced again.

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