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Iraqi Refugee Crisis Prepared by Nicholas Elliott with help from Jennifer Bing-Canar.

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Presentation on theme: "Iraqi Refugee Crisis Prepared by Nicholas Elliott with help from Jennifer Bing-Canar."— Presentation transcript:

1 Iraqi Refugee Crisis Prepared by Nicholas Elliott with help from Jennifer Bing-Canar

2 What’s a refugee? Has a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion Has a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion Is outside their home country Is outside their home country Is unable to get protection in their home country Is unable to get protection in their home country According to the United Nations, a refugee is a person who

3 Why are so many Iraqis refugees? Saddam Hussein Saddam Hussein First Gulf War First Gulf War Sanctions Sanctions Second U.S. invasion present Second U.S. invasion present 21 days into the war, Iraqi government falls 21 days into the war, Iraqi government falls May 1, 2003 – President George Bush declares, “Mission Accomplished” May 1, 2003 – President George Bush declares, “Mission Accomplished” The Iraq War continues today The Iraq War continues today

4 Impacts of U.S. War and Occupation of Iraq: Casualties Iraqi Civilian Deaths 99,500 - Iraq Body Count 99,500 - Iraq Body Count 151,000 - Iraqi Family Health Survey 151,000 - Iraqi Family Health Survey 601,000 - Lancet Survey 601,000 - Lancet Survey 1,033,000 - Opinion Research Business Survey 1,033,000 - Opinion Research Business Survey

5 Impacts of War and Occupation: Iraqi Youth From 1990 to 2005, infant mortality rates increased 150% From 1990 to 2005, infant mortality rates increased 150% In 2005 alone, 122,000 Iraqi children died before reaching 5. In 2005 alone, 122,000 Iraqi children died before reaching 5. By 2009, child malnutrition stands at 22%. By 2009, child malnutrition stands at 22%. 28% of Iraqi children suffer some degree of PTSD. 28% of Iraqi children suffer some degree of PTSD.

6 Impacts of War and Occupation: Iraqi Youth school attendance is only 30% in Iraq school attendance is only 30% in Iraq. Youth are joining militias and becoming child soldiers. Youth are joining militias and becoming child soldiers. 500 Iraqi youth are in prison without charge 500 Iraqi youth are in prison without charge

7 Psychological Impacts of War and Occupation Source: AFSC and AFSC Staff Report Jordan/UNHCR 80% witnessed a shooting 80% witnessed a shooting 68% interrogated or harassed by militias 68% interrogated or harassed by militias 77% affected by shelling/rocket attacks 77% affected by shelling/rocket attacks 72% witnessed a car bombing 72% witnessed a car bombing 23% of Iraqis in Baghdad have had a family member kidnapped 23% of Iraqis in Baghdad have had a family member kidnapped 75% had a family member or someone close to them murdered 75% had a family member or someone close to them murdered 80,000 Iraqis need artificial limbs 80,000 Iraqis need artificial limbs

8 Iraqi Displacement

9 Over 5 Million Iraqis Displaced Estimated Total of Displaced Iraqis since 2003: 5.4 million Population of Chicago: 2.8 million At the height of the crisis, over 3,000 Iraqis displaced per day 83 per hour

10 Refugee Statistics Iraqi refugees outside Iraq 2.2 million Iraqi refugees outside Iraq 2.2 million Iraqis displaced inside Iraq 2.7 million Iraqis displaced inside Iraq 2.7 million Iraqis fleeing their homes each month 60,000 Iraqis fleeing their homes each month 60,000 In Jordan 450, ,000 In Jordan 450, ,000 In Syria 1.2 – 1.4 million In Syria 1.2 – 1.4 million In Iran and other Arab Countries 333,000 – 357,000 In Iran and other Arab Countries 333,000 – 357,000

11 Inside Iraq 8 million Iraqi civilians need urgent assistance 8 million Iraqi civilians need urgent assistance 4 million have food insecurity 4 million have food insecurity 2.7 million internally displaced 2.7 million internally displaced More than half of these displaced since February 2006 More than half of these displaced since February 2006

12 Iraqi Refugees in Jordan

13 Refugees have no legal status in Jordan Those who can deposit $50,000 U.S. are able to obtain an annual residency pass Jordan condemned for recognizing Iraqis simply as visitors, not extending the same rights as refugees Source:

14 Iraqi Refugees in Jordan A large segment of the Iraqi Chaldean Christian population has fled to neighboring Jordan Photo: An Iraqi street vendor sells her wares in Amman, Jordan, July Photo: Jon Elmer 2005 Iraqi refugee kids set off for school in Zarqa, Jordan Photo: IRC

15 Iraqi Refugees in Syria

16 1.5 million Iraqi refugees living in Syria; most fled the extreme sectarian violence sparked by the bombing of the Mosque of Samarra in ,000 fled to Syria in 2006 alone October 2007 the Syrian government imposed strict visa requirements for refugees Until May 2008, only a handful of international NGOs were allowed to work in Syria Iraqi Refugees in Syria In Damascus, a UNHCR staff member talks with an Iraqi refugee family in the 1-room apartment shared between 13 family members Photo: UNHCR/M.Bernard

17 Iraqi Refugees in Syria Iraqi refugees sell bread at a market in Damascus Iraqi refugees in Syria wait their turn to be processed by UNHCR A blind Iraqi man sells shoes in Damascus

18 Women and Children are the Most at Risk More than 33% of Iraqi refugees registered with UNHCR have special needs, including medical needs and women at risk More than 33% of Iraqi refugees registered with UNHCR have special needs, including medical needs and women at risk Thousands of Iraqi women in neighboring states have turned to prostitution as an economic means to survive Thousands of Iraqi women in neighboring states have turned to prostitution as an economic means to survive Percentage of Internally Displaced Iraqis who are women and children is 82% Percentage of Internally Displaced Iraqis who are women and children is 82%

19 Iraqis at Risk According to some organizations, most prominently The List Project: According to some organizations, most prominently The List Project: The US has a pressing moral onus to resettle the several hundred thousand Iraqis and their families who assisted the US in military and non-military efforts The US has a pressing moral onus to resettle the several hundred thousand Iraqis and their families who assisted the US in military and non-military efforts These Iraqis have been branded as traitors in many contexts and have received death threats These Iraqis have been branded as traitors in many contexts and have received death threats This community, like many other vulnerable refugee groups, is still at risk and should be resettled. Yet, considering they represent at most 5% of total refugee population this is only a start This community, like many other vulnerable refugee groups, is still at risk and should be resettled. Yet, considering they represent at most 5% of total refugee population this is only a start Photo- Ali Al-Fadhily, IPS News

20 Rebuilding: What Will It Cost Iraq? Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz estimates that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined will end up costing the U.S. $3 trillion. Yet we must also ask what the cost of the wars will be for the citizens of the countries where these wars are being waged.

21 What Will It Take to Rebuild Iraq? An estimated 40% of the Iraqi middle class has left. More than 300,00 school-aged children displaced “Brain drain” A group of Iraqi women listens to a social worker from Catholic Relief Services Source: CRS

22 The Way Forward?

23 The Way Forward Depends on the Fate of Iraqi Refugees Provide substantial long-term and transparent funding for humanitarian relief, reparations, and Iraqi-led reconstruction efforts Provide substantial long-term and transparent funding for humanitarian relief, reparations, and Iraqi-led reconstruction efforts Provide humanitarian assistance to Iraqi refugees and increase its impact Provide humanitarian assistance to Iraqi refugees and increase its impact Lead resettlement of Iraqi refugees Lead resettlement of Iraqi refugees Appoint a White House coordinator for Iraqi refugees Appoint a White House coordinator for Iraqi refugees The U.S. has a binding moral and legal responsibility to all Iraqis. Specifically, the U.S. should:

24 2008 and 2009 have seen an increase in Iraqi resettlement in the US – 12,000 in 2008 and 17,000 in 2009

25 What Can You Do? Be aware of the situation. Check in for the latest news at alternative news sources such as democracynow.org, commondreams.org, alternet.org, directaidiraq.org, and afsc.org. Be aware of the situation. Check in for the latest news at alternative news sources such as democracynow.org, commondreams.org, alternet.org, directaidiraq.org, and afsc.org. Tell others what you have learned. Share it with your friends, family, teachers, and community members. Tell others what you have learned. Share it with your friends, family, teachers, and community members. Extend the hand of friendship. Iraqi refugees are often the target of hatred because they, too, need a share of the limited resources of the communities they are resettling in. Chances are, the Iraqi population will grow in Chicago and they will need neighbors who understand where they are coming from and are willing to help them out. Extend the hand of friendship. Iraqi refugees are often the target of hatred because they, too, need a share of the limited resources of the communities they are resettling in. Chances are, the Iraqi population will grow in Chicago and they will need neighbors who understand where they are coming from and are willing to help them out. Volunteer at local resettlement agencies. Iraqi refugees have little to their names and need basic necessities like food, clothing, and household items. School age children often need tutoring. Check with the local resettlement agencies like Heartland Alliance, Interfaith Refugee Services, and Catholic Charities. Volunteer at local resettlement agencies. Iraqi refugees have little to their names and need basic necessities like food, clothing, and household items. School age children often need tutoring. Check with the local resettlement agencies like Heartland Alliance, Interfaith Refugee Services, and Catholic Charities. Keep in touch with AFSC! We have lots of resources you can use to advocate for Iraqi refugees in your community. Keep in touch with AFSC! We have lots of resources you can use to advocate for Iraqi refugees in your community.


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