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Over four million Iraqis have been forced from their homes due to the intense violence in their country, with nearly half seeking refuge in neighboring countries and half displaced in different governorates inside Iraq. The United States, through Congressional leadership, has improved its response to the needs of vulnerable Iraqis, through an increase in humanitarian funding and an increase in the refugee resettlement program, yet more still needs to be done.
The movement of refugees is on a scale not seen in the Middle East since 1948, and although more international attention has focused on the issue in the last 12 months, far too little has been done to tackle the displacement crisis. The US, the UK, and the Iraqi governments should be doing much more to lead a rapid, comprehensive and robust international response, both from a humanitarian point of view and in the interests of long-term regional stability.
With over two million Iraqi refugees in neighboring countries and 2.4 million displaced within their own country, Iraq is one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises and threatens to undermine regional stability. Despite its scale, the international response, including that of the United Nations, has been woefully inadequate.
Over 4.5 million Iraqis have been displaced since 2003, with nearly 2.5 million Iraqi civilians fleeing to neighboring countries, and over 2 million displaced internally within Iraq. This displacement crisis has grave humanitarian implications as well as potential negative ramifications for regional security.
Iraq, the US and the Arab league must do more to ensure that refugees receive the protection and assistance they deserve. Without decisive leadership, the health and lives of thousands of refugees and the stability of the region are at risk.