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Iraq: Increased UN Aid for Refugees

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced on January 8 that it would double the amount of aid it will request in 2007 for Iraqi refugees and internally displaced persons. In November Human Rights Watch released a major report highlighting abuses against Iraqi refugees, focusing on Jordan where they are regarded as illegal immigrants and face the daily threat of arrest, fines, and deportation. Our report brought this previously ignored issue to the fore, catapulting the plight of the Iraqi refugee population to the top of the agenda during President Bush’s visit to Jordan’s capital in late November. The subsequent wave of international attention paved the way for the UNHCR’s recent appeal to increase aid to displaced Iraqis, to recognize them as refugees, and to call for an international conference on Iraqi displacement. The US Senate also held a hearing during which Bush Administration officials were admonished to provide more support for Iraqi refugees. Most recently, the Jordanian government issued a statement publicly supporting the proposed international conference and promising to conduct its own assessment of Iraqi refugees in Jordan.

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