Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Iraqi Refugees, part 2

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) released a report this week detailing the current Iraqi refugee crisis. With numbers exceeding 4 million, the Iraqi refugee (and IDP) population is the third largest in the world. The report draws attention to the slow response of the US to admit refugees or grant them asylum. The US goal of admitting 12,000 Iraqi refugees by October seems a long way off given that the US has only managed to resettle 1,876 refugees this fiscal year. Despite this lag in admittance, Ambassador James Foley, Senior Coordinator on Iraqi Refugee Issues, believes the US can reach its goal now that the proper infrastructure is in place abroad. Congress, however, has its doubts. The report also underscores the need to provide billions of dollars in aid for refugees and their host countries, while improving conditions in Iraq that would enable their safe return. AAA members may wish to press Congress for more support and funds for refugees and IDPs. Please take a moment to send a pre-generated letter to your Senator & Representative using Amnesty’s online action center (see link below).

AAA members and guests are encouraged to share their thoughts and experiences about refugee and IDP issues. What are the impacts of displacement on refugee populations, their host countries, and surrounding regions? What contributions can anthropologists make towards addressing refugee crises? Are there particular caveats to this crisis that the international community has failed to consider?

IRC Report [pdf]

CNN Article on IRC Report

Amnesty Advocacy Letter to Congress