News / Middle East

UN Cites Destabilizing Risk of Mass Iraqi Refugee Exodus

A girl, who fled from the violence in Mosul, carries a case of water at a camp on the outskirts of Arbil in Iraq's Kurdistan region, June 12, 2014.
A girl, who fled from the violence in Mosul, carries a case of water at a camp on the outskirts of Arbil in Iraq's Kurdistan region, June 12, 2014.
Reuters
A senior U.N. humanitarian official on Tuesday flagged the risk of a mass exodus of Iraqi refugees from sectarian bloodshed overwhelming nearby countries already reeling from nearly 3 million uprooted Syrians.

Within Iraq, at least 300,000 people fleeing fighting in the northern city of Mosul have sought shelter in its relatively calm, autonomous Kurdistan region in the past week, according to the United Nations refugee agency. Another 500,000 Iraqis have been on the move within the country since sectarian fighting flared in the western Iraqi province of Anbar in January.

“At the present moment, we have a very serious confrontation and we have meaningful levels of internal displacement. We are not yet witnessing a massive refugee outflow and I think it will depend on whether this crisis can be addressed effectively in the near future or whether it will be a protracted conflict,” said U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres.

“If it will be a protracted conflict, I think it will be inevitable to have again a meaningful outflow of refugees,” he told a press briefing in Geneva.

 
Iraq cities: Mosul, Tikrit, Beiji, Kirkuk, Karbala, Fallujah, BaghdadIraq cities: Mosul, Tikrit, Beiji, Kirkuk, Karbala, Fallujah, Baghdad
x
Iraq cities: Mosul, Tikrit, Beiji, Kirkuk, Karbala, Fallujah, Baghdad
Iraq cities: Mosul, Tikrit, Beiji, Kirkuk, Karbala, Fallujah, Baghdad
Forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have made a rapid advance through northern Iraq in the past week, but Baghdad's Shi'ite Muslim rulers defied Western calls on Tuesday to reach out to Sunnis to defuse the crisis.

More than 2.8 million Syrian refugees have registered in neighboring countries, including 225,000 in Iraq, since that country's conflict began in 2011, according to the UNHCR.

“Looking at the situation of the countries of the region, I mean Syria is obviously not a possible destination [for Iraqi refugees], Jordan is now having the enormous pressure of the Syrian refugees,” Guterres said. “So it's difficult to see how the region can cope with another big refugee outflow.”

If there is a mass exodus from Iraq, international solidarity would be absolutely essential, he added.

“Obviously, if that would occur, I would hope that Iraqis could be well received everywhere. But as I said, for the moment the most important is to avoid it,” said Guterres.
 
  • A member of the Iraqi Special Operations Forces stands guard during an intensive security deployment in Baghdad's Amiriya district, June 18, 2014.
  • Shi'ite volunteers who joined the Iraqi army to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant gesture with their weapons in Baghdad, June 18, 2014.
  • A member of Iraqi security forces stands guard in front of volunteers who joined the army to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Baghdad, June 17, 2014.
  • Shi'ite tribal fighters raise their weapons and chant slogans against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in Basra, Iraq, June 16, 2014.
  • Mehdi Army fighters loyal to Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr march during military-style training in the holy city of Najaf, Iraq, June 16, 2014.
  • Iraqi army soldiers stand guard in Baghdad, June 16, 2014.
  • A volunteer who joined the Iraqi Army to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant holds a weapon during a parade in Al-Fdhiliya district, eastern Baghdad, June 15, 2014.
  • A vehicle belonging to Kurdish security forces fires a multiple rocket launcher during clashes with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant on the outskirts of Diyala, Iraq, June 14, 2014.
  • This image posted on a militant website on June 14, 2014 appears to show militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant with captured Iraqi soldiers wearing plain clothes after taking over a base in Tikrit, Iraq.
  • This image posted on a militant website on June 14, 2014 appears to show militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant with captured Iraqi soldiers wearing plain clothes after taking over a base in Tikrit, Iraq.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs