FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Vanessa Parra, 202-828-0110 x225
Refugees International and 36 International Organizations Call for Direct Bilateral Funding to Countries Hosting Iraqi Refugees
Washington, DC – In anticipation of the conference on Iraqi refugees held in Amman, Jordan on July 26, Refugees International and a consortium of 36 international advocacy and humanitarian aid organizations sent a letter today urging governments to dramatically increase bilateral assistance to countries hosting Iraqi refugees. The consortium welcomed the Government of Iraq’s initiative to convene the regional meeting on the topic and expressed hope that the conference would result in greater resources for Iraqi refugees.
The letter signed by Refugees International, the International Rescue Committee, the Norwegian Refugee Council, the Lebanese group Frontiers, and others expresses “urgent concern about the magnitude of the humanitarian and refugee crisis involving Iraqi refugees and the dangerous lack of adequate resources provided by the international community to countries hosting Iraqi refugees… Without decisive leadership, the health and lives of thousands of refugees and the stability of the region are at risk.”
The conference will host officials from Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Turkey, Iran, and dignitaries from the United Nations to discuss ways to respond to the Iraqi refugee crisis. Currently, there are 2.2 million refugees and 2 million internally displaced Iraqis inside Iraq – all struggling to find food, housing, health care and education for their children. UNHCR has requested $123 million to work with Iraqis in the region, which roughly amounts to a mere $22 per refugee, per year. Minimal bilateral funding has been given to Jordan, Syria, Lebanon or other countries hosting Iraqis. In addition, the Government of Iraqi has pledged $25 million to the region in April, but the funding has yet to be provided.
“The massive influx of refugees poses serious security problems. The international community must act aggressively to stabilize the region and improve security by providing sufficient resources to protect the health and safety of Iraqi refugees,” said Refugees International Advocate Kristele Younes. “We’ve all signed on to this letter in the hope of convincing governments that increased bilateral aid is the best solution for responding to the Iraqi refugee crisis. We would also like to see the Iraqi government provide substantial assistance for the region. ”
Since November 2006, Refugees International has traveled to Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt to identify the problems facing Iraqi refugees and internally displaced people and has taken the lead in advocating for solutions to those problems. Our last mission to Syria, Jordan and Lebanon returned in June 2007. Refugees International is a Washington, DC-based organization that uses advocacy to generate lifesaving humanitarian assistance and protection for displaced people around the world and works to end the conditions that create displacement.
For more information on Iraqi refugees, go to http://www.refugeesinternational.org/iraq
Click here to read the advocacy letter.