We’ll Make Progress When We Stop the Hypocrisy

And when we withdraw from the Middle East where we have no business being.

Progress in Iraq?

Many displaced Iraqis left with no place to go-IOM
07 Sep 2007 15:36:48 GMT, Source: Reuters

GENEVA, Sept 7 (Reuters) – Most of Iraq’s provinces are severely restricting entry to people fleeing violence and lawlessness, leaving some displaced families “without a place to go”, an international aid agency said on Friday.

The restrictions in 11 of Iraq’s 18 governorates make it harder for Iraqis fleeing violence to move within the country to seek safety, the International Organisation for Migration said.

Many of the more than 2.2 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) within Iraq cannot access shelter and other basic services, while neighbouring Syria is joining Jordan in imposing tighter visa restrictions, the IOM said.

“The vast majority of (Iraqi) governorates have now closed their doors to newly displaced persons… Their fate is more and more difficult,” spokesman Jean-Philippe Chauzy told a briefing.

Rafiq Tschannen, IOM’s Iraq chief of mission, said: “Entry and registration restrictions imposed by most governorates and stricter visa restrictions said to soon be imposed by Syria and Jordan for Iraqi refugees could mean Iraqis who remain inside the country will be effectively marooned without a place to go.”

Many provinces or governorates — ranging from Babylon in largely Sunni Muslim central Iraq to Kerbala, Najaf and Basra in the largely Shi’ite Muslim south and all three semi-autonomous Kurdish provinces in the north — have restricted entry and registration, according to the IOM’s latest report.

In the southern governorates, entry is “increasingly restricted due to security concerns and the strain displacement is placing on local capacities,” it said.

People entering these southern provinces are frequently only registered if they originate from there or can prove family ties to the area, it said. Inability to register prevents people from transferring their food cards and accessing basic services.

In the western Anbar province there are no official restrictions but “the intensity of inter-tribal conflict requires IDPs to have tribal ties to an area in order to stay there”, the IOM said.

More than a million of the 2.2 million internal refugees have been uprooted since the bombing of a Shi’ite shrine in the town of Samarra in early 2006, which sparked a wave of sectarian violence that has killed tens of thousands of Iraqis.

IOM’s report was based on an assessment of more than 111,000 displaced families, or some 670,000 people, who had fled since the bombing. Some 70 percent of the displaced had fled Baghdad.

Syria’s government has issued a decree taking effect on Monday which bars Iraqi passport holders from entering the country, except for businessmen and academics, a small minority of the 3,000-5,000 who currently cross the border every day.


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