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Campaign Urges Obama to Support Iraqi Refugees
RI: Millions of Iraqi Displaced are "Running out of Resources"
02/19/2009 4:10 PM ET

Refugees International has launched a new campaign to urge the Obama administration to enhance its policies to support Iraqi refugees. The Washington-based refugee advocacy organization has released a statement calling on the US to provide direct support for Iraqi refugees as well as to lobby the Iraqi government to step up its refugee assistance, and called on its supporters to sign a petition endorsing the campaign. RI also released two videos along with the campaign documenting conditions of Iraqi refugees living in Syria. The videos can be viewed above and below, and full text of the statement appears here.

Don't Forget Iraqi Refugees

REFUGEES INTERNATIONAL LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN URGING OBAMA TO HELP IRAQI REFUGEES

Washington D.C. - As President Obama works to stabilize Iraq, he must be sure to comprehensively address the Iraqi refugee crisis. Five million Iraqis have been uprooted by conflict, forced to leave everything behind. They have sought refuge within Iraq, Syria, Jordan and other neighboring countries. They are running out of resources with little opportunity for employment; access to food, heath care, education and other essential services is extremely limited. The conditions for Iraqis to return home safely do not exist, and millions of Iraqi refugees are unlikely and unwilling to return to Iraq in the foreseeable future. The U.S. administration must lead international efforts to meet the long-term needs of displaced Iraqis. Failure to assist Iraqis will have dramatic impacts on security inside Iraq.

Refugees International has launched a new campaign urging President Obama to do more to help Iraqi refugees.

The campaign features a petition urging the Obama administration to:

  1. Assist Iraqi refugees.
  2. Ensure a safe, voluntary return home when possible.
  3. Pressure Iraq to meet its responsibilities to its own people.
  4. Increase resettlement for those who can't go home.

Supporters can sign the petition here: http://www.refugeesinternational.org/iraq

The campaign also features two candid videos about the lives of Iraqi refugees in Syria, Iraqi Refugees: The View From Syria and Khaled's Story, which can both be viewed here: http://www.refugeesinternational.org/iraq-videos.

In Iraqi Refugees: the View From Syria, Kristèle Younès, Refugees International Senior Advocate says, “At this stage, what we’re looking at is millions of impoverished people who have basically joined the ranks of the urban poor, wherever they have sought refuge, and who are quickly becoming desperate.”

Please sign the petition and share with others who demand a stable Iraq.

Refugees International is a Washington, D.C.-based organization that advocates to end refugee crises. Since November 2006, the organization has conducted seven missions to the Middle East to identify the needs of Iraqi refugees and internally displaced people in Iraq. After ongoing pressure from Refugees International, the U.S. State Department increased its assistance for Iraqi refugees from $43 million in 2006 to $398 million in 2008.


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