On July 27 the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and UNICEF announced a $129 million joint appeal to provide education for Iraqi refugee children in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt. Jordan also announced that it will give all Iraqi children living in the country access to Jordanian schools. Our November 2006 report on Iraqi refugees in Jordan exposed for the first time the widespread lack of access to education for Iraqi children. In our report and in the Jordanian media, we urged the government to provide all Iraqi children with access to free primary education.
In addition, the US State Department announced on July 12 an additional pledge of $19 million for Iraqi refugees, more than doubling its previous commitment. The statement was released just weeks after Human Rights Watch wrote to the editors of the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post criticizing the State Department for pledging only $18 million to the UNHCR for its Iraq program. In advocacy meetings, reports, and op-eds, Human Rights Watch criticized the US and other western countries for providing so little funding for the 2 million people who have fled Iraq and the 2 million who are internally displaced. Going forward, we will continue to push Iraq’s neighbors and the international community to address the immediate and pressing needs of displaced Iraqis.