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  • » 02/02/2007, 00.00

    IRAQ – PALESTINE

    Palestinians in Iraq say they are targeted by “ethnic cleansing campaign”



    A privileged class under Saddam Hussein, Palestinian refugees are now being targeted by Shiite militias. In 2006, more than 600 were killed in Baghdad. Thousands of families have fled and those who stayed back no longer dare to go out of the house with their identity documents.

    Baghdad (AsiaNews) – A “systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing” targeting Palestinian refugees is under way in Baghdad, according to Palestinian leaders and political activists. In 2006 alone, more than 600 were killed by Shiite militias. A report in the English-language Israeli daily, Jerusalem Post, said that since the fall of Saddam Hussein, thousands of Palestinian families have fled Iraq, not knowing where to go. Neighbouring Syria and Jordan have limited entries while attacks and violence have affected border refugee camps too.

    Up to three years ago, there were around 30,000 Palestinians living in Iraq. Under the regime of Saddam Hussein, they were a privileged class but they have always been regarded with disfavour by the Shiites, who were marginalized and persecuted by the raìs. An Iraqi from Baghdad told AsiaNews that during the dictatorship of Saddam, Palestinians were very rich, they held important posts and always received government aid. “They used to have very luxurious houses and what’s more, that had electricity all day while the rest of the city had to make do with only two out of every five hours,” said the source. Saddam had always given to understand that “an offence against a Palestinian was an offence against the raìs himself.”

    Today, Palestinians in Iraq number less than 10,000 and most of them live in fear of their lives, afraid to go out. Nadia Othman, who escaped from Baghdad to Jordan, told about the death of her brother: “Shiite militias stopped him in the street as he was on his way to the school where he taught Arabic. When they saw his documents, they immediately fired three bullets at his head," she said. "On the same day, they kidnapped and murdered Farid Al-Sayed, chairman of the Palestinian-controlled Haifa Sports Club in Iraq."

    Another Palestinian who went to the northern West Bank said Palestinians were so scared they no longer went out with documents to conceal their true identity.

    Zakariya Al-Agha, head of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) Refugees Department, expressed “deep concern” over the fate of the Palestinians in Iraq." He said 400 Palestinians were living in tough conditions along the border after Damascus denied them entry. Atef Udwan, minister for refugee affairs in the Hamas-led government, said he was searching for a way to allow the Palestinians in Iraq to move to the West Bank and Gaza Strip. "We need to persuade Israel to give these people permission to enter our territories. This is a purely humanitarian issue that must be addressed urgently."

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    See also

    09/01/2007 UN - IRAQ
    UN: million more needed for Iraqi refugees
    The supplementary funds requested by UNHCR are earmarked for projects for internally displaced people (1.7 million) and refugees in neighbouring countries (2 million). But the problem is more widespread than that and seriously affects Europe and the United States too.

    29/08/2007 UN - IRAQ
    UN: Iraqi refugees top 4 million
    According to the UNHCR the number is constantly augmenting. Apart form the violence wracking the country, immigration is also fuelled by difficulties in social and health services. The US offers 30 million dollars to aid the crises but western borders continue to remain closed.

    11/07/2007 IRAQ
    Iraqi Red Crescent Society warns about 100,000 additional internally displaced people every month
    Humanitarian agency says that the situation is getting worse by the day. Basic services like health care, jobs and education are lacking. Baghdad and Mosul are the worse affected areas.

    20/10/2017 17:12:00 LEBANON
    For al-Rahi, Syrian and Palestinian refugees are a "great burden" for Lebanon

    The Maronite patriarch highlights how refugees now top more than half the Lebanese population, and have become “a demographic, economic, political, cultural and security threat”. Hence, “their return to safe places in Syria has become a necessity”.



    19/06/2007 UN
    Iraq raises the number of the world’s refugees to 10 million
    The number – published by UNHCR – refers to the end of 2006 and is the first registered increase in over 5 years. The growth in numbers – equal to 14% - is attributed by Iraqi migration to Syria and Jordan: 1.5 million people. By the most consistent group remains Afghani’s with 2.1 million. In Asia countries are more hit by internally displaced peoples.



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