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.
The Iraqi government should:
- Work toward a political solution and reconciliation so that peaceful conditions in Iraq prevail, enabling refugees to safely return home.
- Encourage the governments of Syria and Jordan to open their borders and allow refugees in as necessary.
- Facilitate the return of refugees home only when conditions are safe and do so with protections and guarantees.
- Coordinate plans for returns and re-settlement within the ministries, with international agencies and donors and the NGO community.
For more information about the Center for American Progress’ policies on Iraqi refugees, see: