Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Monday, February 05, 2007

Refugee crisis detrimental to Iraq’s future

In the four years since the U.S. invasion of Iraq, approximately 2 million Iraqis have fled the country, The Washington Post reported on Sunday. In addition, approximately 1.7 million Iraqis are considered internally displaced persons (IDPs). The total number of refugees constitutes roughly16 percent of the prewar population of Iraq.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that 50,000 Iraqis are fleeing their homes every month. Many are fleeing to Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon, where they are unable to find jobs and must conceal their true identity for fear of being expelled. Many of the refugees are doctors, academics, and others vital to the reconstruction effort in their homeland. Initially, it was primarily the rich Iraqis who fled, some even before the war, but now more and more poor Iraqis are seeking asylum elsewhere. ‘

Less than 500 refugees have been resettled in the United States since 2003. In Jordan, a nation where Palestinian refugees comprise one-third of the total population, there are officially Iraqi 500,000-700,000 refugees, though many estimates put the figure closer to 1 million. Jordan’s economy has become increasingly strained by the massive influx and officials are now turning Iraqis away at the borders. In response, many Iraqis have looked to Syria for asylum, though the journey is dangerous, and the risk of attack from Sunni insurgents along the way is high.

To read the article, click here.


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