World Relief Advocacy Update – Part 3 of 3

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Photo: Iraqi refugees waiting for interviews (BBC News)


World Relief met with Assistant Secretary of State Ellen Sauerbrey
in late March to discuss her recent trip to and and ongoing processing and protection issues of Iraqi refugees. Both and have been overwhelmed with hundreds of thousands of refugees living in their communities and are thus seeking international assistance to help these populations. According to State Department estimates, has around 750,000 Iraqi refugees while has around 1.2 million Iraqi refugees. While has kept its borders open to the refugee flow and welcomed UNHCR, there has been a concern about security and the strain on healthcare, education, and shelter in the local, border communities. also has a significant refugee population but has not been open to a UNHCR presence and has often turned away some vulnerable refugees right at the border. UNHCR has registered about 100,000 and are committed to registering 200,000 by year’s end. UNHCR also plans to refer 20,000 refugees worldwide for resettlement over 6-9 months, with 7,000 going to the The State Department is also considering special processing for those who are closely tied to the government as well as for those with family members in the as “priority categories” in the refugee resettlement program.

The UNHCR will host a conference on Iraqi refugees from April 17th to April 18th and a high-level delegation from the lead by Under Secretary Paula Dobriansky will be attending the conference to discuss with other countries the urgent need for protection of Iraqi refugees. While resettlement is an urgent protection tool for a small segment of the overall Iraqi refugee population, there needs to be immediate discussion as to how the international community can help host countries cope with such large refugee populations while maintaining first asylum protection.

What can you do?
1) Engage your church in helping to resettle the Iraqi refugees who will be arriving later this year!
2) Write letters to your Representative asking for increased resettlement for Iraqi refugees to the 3) Continue to keep World Relief informed of refugee groups in need of protection.

Jenny Hwang
Director for Advocacy and Policy
Refugee and Immigration Program
World Relief
[email protected]