Reading List: Iraqi Refugees

By Staff

In the July-August 2010 issue of Utne Reader, we reprinted parts of an exceptional piece from the Texas Observer on the plight of Iraqi refugees trying to rebuild their lives in the Houston area. Want to know more? You’ve come to the right place.

From Utne Reader:

The Invisible Iraqis

It’s difficult to imagine what an Iraqi refugee family looks like, isn’t it? Is she a harried-looking woman holding a baby swaddled in tattered blankets? Is he tired but smiling, bored by the idleness of the refugee camp but optimistic that he’s on the road to a better life? Is their 8-year-old son enthusiastically learning English in a dusty makeshift classroom? Your preconceived notions about refugees do not apply to most of the new Iraqi diaspora.Read More >>

The Iraqi Student Project

“In Baghdad before the invasion,” Sara Saba’a recalls, “everything was quiet and normal. I went to a high school for bilingual students with high marks, and we could go out–go for midnight rides even–and everything was safe. After the invasion, we had to stop everything and always be [veiled]. We had to stay at home and there was only waiting, waiting, waiting.”

Finally, fearing for their lives, her family fled to Syria. According to the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, about 2 million Iraqis have left Iraq, mainly going to Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon. These refugees have limited access to housing, food, education, work, and medical care. Read More >>

What America Owes Iraq’s Squatters

Most people forced to flee their homes in Iraq, if they haven’t found a way to leave the country all together, have been taken in by sympathetic families. But 500,000 of the country’s estimated 1.5 million “internally displaced persons” are living in squatter camps, according to Daniel Endres, Iraq representative for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Read More >>

Reports:

Iraqi Refugees: A Tough Road Home (International Rescue Committee)

Seven years into the crisis, uprooted Iraqis are trapped in poverty and uncertainty and their needs are growing more acute. The IRC’s Commission on Iraqi Refugees has issued a new report that urges increased aid for the displaced, intensified efforts to create conditions that would enable people to go home safely, and accelerated resettlement for those who can’t go back. Read More >>

The Return and Resettlement of Displaced Iraqis (Refugees International)

Refugees International has been working on the plight of displaced Iraqis for three years. In 2006 and 2007, we called the Iraqi displacement crisis “the fastest growing” in the world. Although the rates of displacement have since slowed, about  20% of the Iraqi population remains displaced. The Governments of Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and other host countries say that they are sheltering almost 2 million Iraqi refugees, while the International Organization for Migration notes that another 2.6 million are internally displaced in Iraq. Read More >>

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