Violence in Iraq and the debate over continued U.S. engagement have overshadowed one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises. Since 2006, sectarian fighting, political and criminal violence, lack of basic services, loss of livelihoods, spiraling inflation and uncertainty about the future pushed more than four million Iraqis from their homes, and made another four million dependent on assistance. Neighboring countries, which accepted more than two million refugees, now impose harsher visa restrictions, creating a “pressure-cooker” situation.
Those rendered homeless by the war are often unable to return safely to their homes yet are running out of resources abroad.
A comprehensive solution to the Iraqi refugee crisis must include action and cooperation between the government of Iraq, regional governments, the United Nations, international donors, the U.S. government, European Union, and non-government organizations.
International Donors should:
- Encourage a political resolution to the crisis.
- Increase humanitarian assistance inside Iraq.
- Provide bilateral aid to the neighboring countries, focusing on the increased demands for health, education, and basic services.
- Fully fund appeals by the United Nations, international, and non-governmental organizations to assist Iraqi refugees and their host communities, coordinate assistance efforts, and increase the quotas of Iraqis resettled in third countries.
- Recognize that the Arab-Israeli conflict and the plight of the displaced Palestinians is a major impediment to peace in the region.
- Do not support the involuntary return of Iraqis.
For more information about the Center for American Progress’ policies on Iraqi refugees, see:
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