Iraqi Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons: A Deepening Humanitarian Crisis? [February 13, 2009] [open pdf - 490KB]
From the Summary: "Some aspects of the humanitarian crisis many feared would take place in March 2003 with the initial military operation in Iraq unfolded later as a result of the ongoing insurgency and sectarian violence. It is estimated that in total (including those displaced prior to the war) there may be as many as 2 million Iraqi refugees who have fled to Jordan, Syria, and other neighboring states, and approximately 2.7 million Iraqis who have been displaced within Iraq itself. Between 2004-2007, the violence and insecurity resulting from the ongoing sectarian strife, terrorism, and insurgency in Iraq produced substantial civilian displacement in different parts of the country. There are continued concerns about the absorptive capacity of neighboring countries, whether they can provide adequately for the populations that have moved across borders, and the impact of refugee flows on stability in general. Many of Iraq's neighbors fear that they are being overwhelmed by refugees who have fled over Iraq's borders. While there is clear evidence of limited improvement in Iraq--decreasing violence, reduced levels of displacement, and some returns in a few governorates--the situation in general remains fragile and requires sustained attention. UNHCR [United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees] estimates that the number of Iraqis displaced within Iraq who need food and shelter exceeds 1 million people. This report provides an analysis of the current crisis, including an overview of the conditions for those displaced in Iraq and the refugee situations in Syria, Jordan, and elsewhere. It also provides information on the U.S. and international response and examines refugee resettlement options in the United States."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33936