Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Iraqi refugee crisis could be worse than reported

Experts argue that the refugee situation in Iraq is worse than reported, according to Reuters.

Before the U.S lead invasion in 2003 there were an estimated 2 million displaced Iraqis; today, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the number has reached around 4.2 million. However, some would put the current figure considerably higher, to account for what they say are tens of thousands of unregistered persons.

“There’s really no count because refugees outside Iraq are treated as illegal immigrants and many people think their best course of action is to stay in hiding,” said Bill Frelick, refugee policy director for Human Rights Watch.

Judith Yaphe, an Iraq expert at the National Defense University in Washington, also believes that the current estimates are too low.

“There are people who came illegally, or came legally but don’t want to declare themselves as refugees…They feel that if you declare yourself you are labeled: the state can control you; you can be deported; things could be done to you.”

Dana Graber Ladek, Iraqi specialist for the International Organization for Migration, argued that thousands more inside Iraq, including many Sunnis, have chosen not to register with the Shiite-dominated government often because of security concerns, according to the article.

“It's very difficult to know how many those might be. It could be thousands; it could be hundreds of thousands. Who knows? If we talk about those within the country it could be even a million,” Ladek said.

For the full article, click here.



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