04/17/2007, 00.00
UN - IRAQ
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The UN seeks help for 4 million Iraqi refugees

The UNhcr conference on the humanitarian crises facing refugees inside and outside Iraq opens today in the Palais des Nations. UN spokesperson: “We are not only looking for funds, but a greater commitment to collaboration from the international community”.

Geneva (AsiaNews/Agencies) – An international meeting focusing on the humanitarian crises facing millions of refugees and displaced people in Iraq and across the entire region, opens today in the Palais des Nations, Geneva. Seriously concerned by the unfolding humanitarian crises, the UN High Commissioner for refugees (Unhcr) organised the two day event inviting governments, Ngo’s and international organisations from over 60 countries to the negotiations.    

According to the UNHCR Some 2.0 million Iraqis are estimated to be in neighbouring countries, many of them uprooted prior to the 2003 war, while another 2.0 million Iraqis are displaced inside their own country.  There are a further 1.9 million displaced people within Iraq itself, living in disastrous situations are growing worse by the day.  From this point of view, it’s the worst situation in the world.   

 “We’re talking about 4.0 million people who are uprooted,” said Ron Redmond, a spokesman for the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. “Iraq’s infrastructure in many places is in a shambles, the capacity of the host governments outside Iraq to care for these people in terms of schools, social services, the economy, skyrocketing rent, we’re talking enormous needs.”

The UNHCR expects full funding for its 60 million dollar appeal to help Iraqi refugees launched earlier this year, but it wants far broader action from the international community rather than more financial pledges. “Were not just asking for funding – explains Redmond - We’re also asking governments that receive refugees to provide them with protection space so they are not sent back against their will”.

Following the opening address by High Commissioner António Guterres, the conference will continue behind close doors with interventions from representatives of the various regional players: The Arab League, Iraq Syria, Jordan, Turkey, The International Federation of the Red Cross, and The Society of the Red Crescent.

 

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