Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Friday, May 25, 2007

IDP and refugee crsis in Iraq

The reality of the number of internally displaced people (IDP) in Iraq represents the largest crisis of such magnitude since 1948. The response of the international community, up to this point, has been insufficient to meet the urgent need for humanitarian assistance. There are a total of 2 million IDPs and 2 million Iraqi refugees in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Iran. The majority of these refugees have sought refuge in Syria and Jordan despite increasing tension and lack of governmental interest in providing public services.

Despite rhetorical commitments to the refugee crisis, the 700,000-1 million Iraqi refugees in Jordan are refused access to public services on a practical level. While the Iraqi refugees in Syria have had access to public services up until this point, the 800,000 to 1.5 million refugees are starting to create tension within the Syrian government. The Syrians were previously very gracious with their support for the Iraqis as a sign of Arab solidarity, however, this is certain to change as the crisis in Iraq escalates and creates more refugees. The increasing poverty among Iraqi refugees also creates tension due to increased passport requirements by neighboring countries to ensure the ‘visitors’, as the Jordanian government refers to them, do not permanently relocate. Analysts also fear that the increased sectarian violence could, in fact, worsen if heavy arms make their way into factional conflicts. The likelihood of the sectarian violence spreading outside of Iraq is probable, especially if no additional actions are taken. As barriers for IDPs continue to increase and violence increases, the crisis is only exacerbated. Yielding an increase in IDPs and refugees would most likely cause Syria to halt access to public services by Iraqis.

For more information on the Iraqi refugee crisis, visit Refugee International here.

Information on UNHCR missions for Iraqi refugees, click here.

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