Millions in flight: the Iraqi refugee crisis

Refugees Australia

The report commends the Syrian and Jordanian governments for largely keeping their borders open to date, but it criticises other states for doing too little to help them cope with the huge demands they face in meeting the needs of around two million Iraqi refugees whom they now host.

According to UNHCR, at least four million Iraqis are now displaced and their numbers are continuing to rise – at an estimated rate of 2000 people per day, making this the world's fastest growing displacement crisis. Syria now hosts 1.4 million Iraqi refugees and Jordan an estimated half million or more, while 2.2 million are displaced but still remain within Iraq.

The report calls on states in the international community, in particular those who have participated in the US-led invasion of Iraq to assist Jordan and Syria by providing increased financial, technical and in-kind bilateral assistance to enable them to meet the health, schooling and other needs of the refugees. It also criticises the slow pace of resettlement of those considered most vulnerable among the Iraqi refugees in Jordan and Syria, including victims of torture and other grave abuses, and calls for urgent steps to develop more generous refugee resettlement programmes.

The report includes recommendations addressed to the members of the international community, highlighting the need to live up to their responsibility sharing obligations and to cease practices that further call the safety of Iraqis into question such as forcibly returning rejected asylum seekers to Iraq, cutting off assistance to those denied asylum and even revoking the refugee status of some Iraqis.


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