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StateSide:Policy
Refugees
(Mrs.) Bush at Last Mentions Iraqi Refugees
RI Pres: First Lady's Acknowledgement of Iraq's Displaced is a White House First
06/23/2008 9:16 PM ET
Mrs. Laura Bush speaks during a celebration of World Refugee Day Friday, June 20, 2008, at the White House.
White House photo.
Mrs. Laura Bush speaks during a celebration of World Refugee Day Friday, June 20, 2008, at the White House.

A recent blog post by the president of Refugees International (RI) claims that a commemoration of World Refugee Day hosted by First Lady Laura Bush on Friday marked the first time the White House has directly mentioned the Iraqi refugee problem.

According to RI's Ken Bacon, Mrs. Bush introduced three refugees at the White House ceremony, one of whom was identified as Zeyad Abdel Okhowa, an Iraqi who fled the country after his work with the US embassy in Hilla put him in danger.

"Thanks to Laura Bush, we now know that the White House is aware of the Iraqi refugee crisis," Bacon says.

"So far President Bush has said nothing in public to acknowledge the displacement, which has humanitarian and security implications for the entire Middle East," the refugees advocate explains.

After his write-up of the event, which he says he attended, Bacon closes with a jab at the president: "Maybe Mrs. Bush will fill him in."

Click here for the full text of Bacon's post, and here for the White House transcript of Mrs. Bush's remarks.

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