Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Thursday, February 15, 2007

7,000 Iraqi refugees to be granted asylum in U.S.

The Bush administration announced that it will allow 7,000 refugees to resettle in the U.S. over the course of the next year, according to a BBC News report today. Thus far, the administration has granted entry to only 463 Iraqi refugees. According to U.N. estimates, 40,000-50,000 refugees flee Iraq each month.

The U.S. plan would allow for the 7,000 Iraqi refugees targeted for entry to be resettled from the neighboring countries that they have already sought asylum in. This move should relieve some of the pressure on Jordan and Syria. According to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees figures, about 1,000,000 Iraqis have fled to Syria, and around 750,000 to Jordan, with many others fleeing to additional locations. Nasser Judeh, a Jordanian government spokesman, in comparing the numbers in the U.S. proposal to the extent of the problem in Jordan, said, “Seven thousand Iraqi refugees is just 1% of the number we have.”

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack assured the international community that the figure is a “target.” Additional refugees could be granted asylum at a later date.

The U.S. also pledged $18 million to contribute toward the $60 million UNHCR requested from the international community to assist with additional resettlement efforts. “The dimension of the problem is so huge that nothing is ever enough,” said High Commissioner Antonio Guterres. He continued, “But I think it is a very good start, a very good step in the right direction.”

For the full article, click here.


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