Thursday, January 18, 2007

U.S. Offers Scant Help to Iraqi Refugees

By Jim Lobe, Electronic Iraq, 18 January 2007 WASHINGTON (IPS)

With some two million of its citizens having fled to other countries and another 1.7 million internally displaced, Iraq has become one of the world's biggest and fastest growing humanitarian crises for which the United States should take far more responsibility, according to human rights groups and other experts.The administration of President George W. Bush, which is currently spending roughly 30 million dollars a day on military operations in Iraq, has earmarked only 20 million dollars for Iraqi humanitarian needs in bilateral aid for all of 2007, the administration's senior refugee official, Assistant Secretary of State Ellen Sauerbrey, told a Senate hearing Tuesday.

We should not repeat the tragic and immoral mistake from the Vietnam era and leave friends without a refuge and subject to violent reprisals.It has also granted refugee status to only 466 Iraqis since 2003, she told the Senate Judiciary Committee, which called on the administration to be far more generous both in providing aid to alleviate the refugee crisis and in offering asylum to fleeing Iraqis, particularly those who have worked for the U.S. military and occupation authorities.

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