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Iraqi refugees in the Middle East. Syria, Jordan and Lebanon April 2008. Situation in Iraq. Population: 25 mill. Religion: 97% Islam and 3% other (mainly Christians and Jews). Islam: 60% Shiite, 20% Sunni Arabs and 20% Sunni Kurds (in the North). Baghdad 60% Shiite

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iraqi refugees in the middle east

Iraqi refugees in the Middle East

Syria, Jordan and Lebanon

April 2008

situation in iraq
Situation in Iraq
  • Population: 25 mill.
  • Religion: 97% Islam and 3% other (mainly Christians and Jews).
  • Islam: 60% Shiite, 20% Sunni Arabs and 20% Sunni Kurds (in the North).
slide3
Baghdad

60% Shiite

40% Sunni Arabs.

development march 2003 april 2008
Development March 2003- April 2008
  • March 2003: Start of the second Gulf war.
  • May 2003: Pres. Bush “Mission accomplished”.
  • August 2003: UN headquarter bombed, withdrawal.
  • December 2003: Saddam captured
  • 2003-2005:
    • Some initial optimism after the fall of Saddam lead to the return of 300.000 Iraqis.
    • But also widespread sectarian violence, guerilla warfare, suicide attacks, chaos, looting.
  • February 2006: The bombing of the Golden Shiite mosque in Samarra lead to a sharp upturn in sectarian violence.
refugees inside iraq
Refugees inside Iraq
  • 2.7 mill internally displaced (IDPs)
    • 2003-2006: 1.2 mill.
    • 2006-2007: 1.5 mill.
  • 2008: Displacement continues in a lower pace.
  • Mainly from Baghdad (69%) and Diyala (18%)
  • Mainly (82%) women and children
  • Mainly (85%) displaced in the Southern or Central Iraq.
  • In neighborhood or district controlled by their sect.
  • Many IDPs live in rented houses/apartments (59%), collective settlements (22%), with host family (18%), or in tents (1%).
  • More than 1 mill is in need of adequate shelter and food.
  • Around 300.000 have no access to clean water.
  • In 2007 UNHCR distributed 140.000 blankets, 50.000 mattresses, 20.000 stoves, 15.000 lanterns, 14.000 plastic sheets, 6.000 tents etc.
  • 2 international staff + 20 national staff in 7 locations provide basic assistance.
refugees outside iraq
Refugees outside Iraq
  • 2.2 mill refugees in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, and Iran.
  • Syria (1.5 mill) and Jordan (500.000) carry most of the burden.
  • Many Sunni Arabs and ethnic minorities
  • Western countries receive a small portion.
refugees basic needs
Refugees: basic needs?
  • Non-refoulement
  • Physical safety
  • Residence and work permit
  • Legal protection (detention etc)
  • House, food and water
  • Social assistance (incl. school)
  • Health services
permanent solutions
Permanent solutions
  • Repatriation (to home country)?
      • Voluntary repatriation: Some return (about 800-900 pr day)
      • Economic reasons, check or sell property (“Go and see” visits)
      • Follow up with family members
      • To be released from detention in Lebanon or other countries
      • No minority return
  • Local integration (in host country)?
  • Resettlement (in a third country)?
protection climate in syria jordan and lebanon
Protection “climate” in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon
  • Human rights record in the Middle east.
  • Syria, Jordan and Lebanon not ratified 1951 Refugee convention (144 states signed)
  • No asylum system
  • Illegal or “tolerated” stay
  • Few local NGOs dealing with human rights (mainly humanitarian assistance).
  • Political tension and instability (Lebanon)
  • Local population, rising prices (Syria).
the role of unhcr
The Role of UNHCR
  • Protection and assistance to refugees
  • Policy of non-return (prima facie refugee status) for all Iraqis from Central and Southern Iraq
  • Registration
      • Important first step: to be of concern to UNHCR
      • Interview, collect personal information, assess specific needs and further action.
  • Refugee Status Determination
      • Interview, written assessment, criteria for refugee status in art. 1 A of the 1951 Refugee Convention.
  • Resettlement: Who do we look for?
resettlement
Resettlement

Traditional criteria:

  • Vulnerable groups (Women-at-risk, children-at-risk, elderly, medical needs, victims of torture)
  • Legal and Physical Protection needs (risk of detention, refoulement)
  • UNHCR refer 20.000 Iraqi refugees pr year, mainly to US, Canada, UK, Australia, Den/Swe/Nor.
  • In 2008: 25.000
  • So far in 2008: 5000 Iraqis have been submitted and 1.150 have departed.
slide12
Legal protection
      • Challenge detention or deportation orders in court.
  • Social assistance
      • Community centers
      • Outreach – mobile teams
      • Social counseling
      • Home visits
      • Public and private school enrollment for children
      • Private school fees, books, uniforms etc.
      • Vocational training
  • Medical assistance
mixed refugee population
Mixed refugee population
  • Urban refugee population (live in Damascus, Amman, Beirut or other cities)
  • Vulnerable groups (women, children, elderly)
  • Excludable groups (criminals)
  • Different needs and rights
  • Dealing with expectations from refugees?

.

syria
Syria
  • Population: 19 mill.
  • 90% Muslim and 10% Christian
  • Muslim: 74% Sunni and 16% other Muslim sects (Alawis and Druze)
  • Syria is a republic under the secular and authoritarian regime of President Bashar al-Asad.
slide15
1.5 mill refugees
  • 30.000-60.000 each month in 2006-2007
  • 165.000 registered with UNHCR
  • Average 2.500 refugees registered pr. week.
  • 2 months waiting period for registration (urgent cases 1 week)
  • Growing numbers, because of increased support from UNHCR.
  • Also growing numbers outside Damascus. (Aleppo and Homs).
  • 53% Sunni, 22% Shiite and 17% Christian
  • Male 52%/Female 48%
  • Female principle applicant 22%
slide16
33% of refugees self-supported for 3 months or less.
  • 20% of refugees depend on support from family abroad
  • UNHCR: 4.000 ATM cards to the most vulnerable families (18.000 persons) with 100-200 USD pr month. First interviewed by Community Service staff. Will cost 1.5 mill pr. month.
  • 1 mill USD distributed to vulnerable women.
  • 60.000 refugees received food assistance in Damascus from UNCHR and WFP.

Package: Sugar, wheat, macaroni, tomato paste, black tea and cooking oil.

  • UNHCR will also distribute non-food items: mattresses, blankets and bed-sheets. Planned for 150.000.
health situation
Health situation
  • 20% serious medial condition
  • Survey December 2007:
    • 89% depressed and 82% anxious,
    • all experienced at least one traumatic event (witnessed shooting, affected by shelling or rocket attacks, or harassment by militia.
    • 75% knew someone close who had been killed.
  • 16% tortured (mainly by militia), 61% beaten with fists or objects.
  • In 2007, UNHCR supported 200.000 health interventions (compared to only 15.000 in 2006)
  • UNHCR supported 7 clinics for Iraqi refugees in Damascus and 4 in other parts of Syria – Red Cross and Red Crescent.
  • UNHCR provided treatment for 500 cancer patients (one hospital, cost 1 mill USD, surgery for 150 refugees).
children
Children
  • Child at risk 5%
  • 40% drop-out among school children
  • 10% of children are working.
  • UNHCR funded rehabilitation of 100 schools/educational facilities, provide textbooks and uniforms to Iraqi schoolchildren.
  • UNHCR supports access to higher education for 300 Iraqi students through scholarship.
  • In 2008, UNHCR supports the building of 8 new schools and construction of one floor in a new hospital in Damascus, and expanded capacity in other hospitals.
  • Syria allows Iraqi children: 50.000 enrolled by February 2008.
women
Women
  • 5% Woman at risk
  • 400 Sexual and Gender based violence (SGBV) cases identified since February 2007.
  • Prostitution in Damascus
  • UNHCR support 50 Iraqi women in prison and girls (12-17 years old) in Juvenile centers, mainly because of prostitution.
  • UNHCR support safe houses in Damascus. In February 2008 a large new safe house opened to accommodate 120 women.
palestinian refugees in no mans land
Palestinian refugeesin “No mans land”
  • Palestinians fled from Palestine to Iraq in 1948, supported by Saddam Hussein to provoke Israel.
  • After his fall there were 35.000 Palestinians in Iraq. They where perceived to be supporting Saddam and harassed by militia. Today, only 15.000 left.
  • 2.700 Palestinian refugees from Iraq stranded in two camps (Al Waleed and Al Tanf) on the Iraqi side of the border to Syria (“No mans land”)
  • Fear of persecution in Baghdad.
  • Syria has restricted visa requirements for Palestinians.
  • Dessert, high temperatures (60 degrees in the summer) and sandstorms
slide22
Hard conditions, no proper water or sanitation, scorpions and snakes.
  • Armed local men demanded part of supplies, threatened international agencies and blocked aid.
  • Worried about health situation.12 refugees died in last 14 months.
  • 400 km to nearest proper health facility in Iraq. No ambulance, only taxi.
  • UNHCR (through implementing partners) provide daily food rations, non-food items and power supply, school (340 students), health care services and medical evacuation, Red Cross provide water and sanitation.
  • Resettlement: In 2006, Canada accepted 64 persons. In 2007, Brazil received 107. In 2008, Chile will receive 117 persons. Sudan has offered to take 2000 persons.
jordan
Jordan
  • Population: 6 mill.
  • 93% Sunni Muslims and 6% Christians.
  • Constitutional monarchy ruled by King Abdullah Hussein and supported by US and EU.
  • 500.000 Iraqi refugees
  • Stricter visa-requirements in February 2008. Apply in Iraq, not on the border.
  • 52.000 Registered with UNHCR
  • 3 days registration waiting period
slide24
Sunni 68%, Shiite 17% and Christians 12%
  • Male 55% and Female 45%
  • Urban refugee population: Come from Baghdad and live in Amman.
  • 40% receive financial support from Iraq
  • 22% employed
  • 20% female headed households and often among the poorest.
  • UNHCR: 2000 families food monthly and 150 persons hot meal daily.
  • UNHCR: 7.700 persons received financial assistance in 2007.
slide25
Woman at risk 7%
  • Child at risk 5%
  • 15% serious health problems
  • UNHCR: 40.000 health interventions in 2007.
  • 95% said they wished to return if security improved.
  • Only 20% concrete plans to emigrate to third country.
  • Mainly poor refugees want to emigrate
  • Refugees with high level of resources (economically and education) want to return.
lebanon
Lebanon
  • Population: 3.8 mill
  • 35% Shiite, 25% Sunni, 25% Christian Maronites
  • Lebanon is a parliamentary republic in which the president is a Maronite Christian, the prime minister a Sunni Muslim, and the leader of the Parliament is a Shiite Muslim.
  • Political instability, division between ethnic and religious groups, fear of civil war.
slide27
50.000 Iraqi refugees
  • 10.000 Registered with UNHCR
  • Registration waiting period: 4-5 days.
  • Shiite 57%, Sunni 30% and Christians 12%
  • Shiite live in Shiite areas, Sunni in Sunni areas and Christians in Christian areas.
  • Male 70% and Female 30%
  • 6% female principle applicant
  • Women at risk 1.5%
  • Child at risk 2.5%
  • 10% important health problems
  • UNHCR supported 2.800 health interventions and 2.900 psychological intervention
  • UNHCR opened a new rehabilitation center for victims of torture and violence in Dec 2007.
  • More than 50% never feel safe in Lebanon.
  • 580 in detention because of illegal entry or stay (or overstayed their visa) and 50% detained beyond the period of their original sentence.
  • Detention: will be released if return “voluntary” to Iraq.
  • Major break through in February 2008: Recognize Iraqi refugees. Release from detention. Residence and work permit.
conclusions
Conclusions
  • Flee from violence (traumatic events). Want to return if safe.
  • Neighboring countries carry most of the burden.
  • Seek their ethnic group in country of asylum
  • Women & children left behind. Single men move on (Lebanon).
  • Mixed refugee population – different background, different needs, different status.
  • Targeted response (Syria: ATM cards to urban refugee population)
slide29
Deal with expectations from refugees (assistance and resettlement).
  • Local integration and repatriation. Resettlement only for a small minority.
  • Difficult protection “climate” (restricted access, human rights violations, detention)
  • Realistic approach
      • Need to work with local governments and local population – protection principles vs. protection space?
      • Resources and donor support
      • Resettlement countries.
  • Work for UNHCR
      • the need for young, motivated staff
      • Work is demanding, but also gratifying!
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