Iraqi refugees are expected to flood the European Union in 2007, reports the Houston Chronicle. About 40,000 Iraqis are anticipated to cross European borders in 2007, compared to roughly 20,000 in 2006 and 10,000 in 2005. Notice that the number has doubled every year since 2005!

This is only a fraction of the over 4 million Iraqis that have been displaced since 2003. Nearly half of these are internally displaced persons (IDP), whose homes have been destroyed or who have fled their homes in order to avoid violence, but have not been able to leave Iraq – or have chosen not to leave. Another 2 million Iraqis have fled to Syria and Jordan. Iraqis are now the largest group of asylum seekers worldwide. While in theory the European Union states shares certain laws concerning refugee asylum cases, each nation interprets and applies these laws differently.

“What worries us is that of the 27 member states in the European Union … we see quite a lot of inconsistencies,” Kumin [UN High Commissioner for Refugees chief of mission] said. “You have some countries where the level of protection is very high, and then you have other counties where the percentage of people who are protected is much lower … even as low as zero percent.”

Greece and Slovakia are said to be the worst offenders, since neither nation provides any form of recognition for the refugees.

One thought on “Iraqi Refugees Flood EU

  1. Greece has suspended all interviews for Iraqis here who apply for asylum. Although they receive the official “asylum seeker” pink card, their cases are in limbo. In some ways, this allows those who are in need of humanitarian protection but would not be classified as refugees under the Geneva Convention (i.e. those fleeing the war there but without a specific individual threat of persecution themselves) to remain in a “safe” country. However it is a very insecure situation to be in – without any actual permanent status being given. It also means separated families have no way to apply for reunification. Desitution is the reality for many and those with a real right to be recognised as Convention refugees are treated in the same way.
    Of course, it is easy for some of the other nations of the EU to point and complain about Greece’s apalling record, but Greece is the first place in Europe that many reach and that means they are dealing with far more people than can reach the UK or Sweden, for example. That suits the other countries just fine.
    Quite a numner have told me that they wish they had remained in Syria or Jordan. Whatever the reality of the numbers there and the lack of willingness of the US and other industrialised nations to take significant numbers of refugees from the region, they feel that at least they had a direct right of access to the UNHCR and could apply to be relocated to somewhere else. Here, all doors are shut to them.
    Last week, one lady, who was forced to leave 3 of her 6 children behind in Iraq, told me “this is not a life, death would be preferable to this”.
    – Emma

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