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.
Regional governments should:
- Allow for access to legal protection and health and education services.
- Stop threats of deportation and arrest.
- Encourage Iraqi families to register with UNHCR to access services.
- Work with the Iraqi government and international community to develop a coordinated return plan
- Allow Iraqi refugees to secure livelihoods.
- Create conditions and protections that provide legal protection, access to services, and freedom of movement.
For more information about the Center for American Progress’ policies on Iraqi refugees, see: