UN: Iraqi refugees top 4 million
Geneva (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The number of Iraqis fleeing the incessant violent in their country has topped 4 million. According to data published by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the number of internally displaced peoples and refugees will continue to rise. “An estimated 4.2 million Iraqis have been uprooted from their homes”, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokeswoman Jennifer Pagonis told journalists “with the monthly rate of displacement climbing to over 60,000”. According to Iraqi Red Crescent sources the number of internally displaced persons (Idp) are more than 80 to 100 thousand a month.
Pagonis explains that the immigration has risen because the “Iraqis are finding it harder to get access to social services in Iraq and many Iraqis are choosing to leave ethnically mixed areas before they are forced to do so”. Unhcr maintains that More than two million Iraqis are displaced within the country, of whom around half were uprooted following the February 2006 Samarra bombings, seen as the catalyst for the latest wave of sectarian conflict. Many are barely surviving in makeshift camps, inaccessible to aid workers for security reasons.
Neighbours Syria and Jordan have shouldered the brunt of the burden of Iraqis fleeing the country altogether, with over 1.4 million in Syria and between 500,000-750,000 in Jordan. The number of Iraqi asylum seekers in Europe in the first half of 2007 rose to nearly 20,000, the same number received during the whole of 2006
The UNHCR has previously called on the international community to donate 60 million dollars to help the United States said it will give UN agencies 30 million dollars to help tens of thousands of Iraqi child refugees to go to school in neighbouring countries. But many note that economic aid to Iraq and its neighbouring countries is not enough: western countries need to open up their borders to allow the legal entry of those people who are forced to flee their homes.