Iraqi Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons: A Deepening Humanitarian Crisis? [October 3, 2007]   [open pdf - 138KB]

"The humanitarian crisis many feared would take place in March 2003 as a result of the war in Iraq continues to unfold as a result of post-war 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 2.2 million Iraqis who have been displaced within Iraq itself. The violence and insecurity resulting from the ongoing sectarian strife, terrorism, and insurgency in Iraq has had a marked impact on civilian displacement in different parts of the country. Many of Iraq's neighbors fear that they are being overwhelmed by refugees fleeing over Iraq's borders. There are now heightened concerns about the absorptive capacity of neighboring countries, whether they can provide adequately for the populations moving across borders, and the impact of refugee flows on stability in general. Some experts think that the Iraq situation could well begin to outpace other refugee crises worldwide. This report provides an analysis of the current crisis, including 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. Aspects of this crisis that may be of particular interest to the 110th Congress include a focus on an immediate response (providing humanitarian relief funding), examining resettlement policies, and developing a strategy to manage the displaced, particularly within Iraq."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL33936
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