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.