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IRAQ-JORDAN: Government gives UNHCR US$8 million to help refugees in Jordan

BAGHDAD, 16 June 2008 (IRIN) - The Iraqi government has given US$8 million to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to assist more than 500,000 Iraqi refugees living in neighbouring Jordan, a government statement said on 15 June.

“The US$8 million donation presented today [15 June] to the UNHCR is to help Iraqi refugees in Jordan in the fields of education and health, as we previously did in Syria and Lebanon,” Iraqi Finance Minister Bayan Jabr said in a statement.

Iraqi officials told IRIN it would be up to the UNHCR to decide how to use the funds.

The UNHCR welcomed the move: “It is a very important event… We are in need of such support… to offer health and educational support to Iraqis in Jordan,” the statement quoted the head of the UNHCR in Amman, Omran Radhi, as saying.

The government statement said the donation was part of a $25 million package which Iraq had pledged last year at an international conference in Geneva designed to help its refugees in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. The biggest share, $15 million, went to Syria, while Lebanon got $2 million.

According to the UNHCR, over 4.2 million Iraqis have fled their homes since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Of these, about 2.2 million are living as refugees in neighbouring countries - mostly Syria and Jordan – while the remainder are IDPs.

On 1 June the Iraqi government said it had allocated $195 million to encourage IDPs and refugees to return to their homes. Experts say such a return would ease the displacement problem.

“We can’t say it will end the displacement problem but we can say it will ease the problem,” said Tahsin Yassir al-Jibouri, a Basra-based analyst who lectures in politics at the University of Basra.

Most of the Iraqi money is for travel expenses for those outside Iraq, and for financial aid and compensation for those whose properties were damaged during their absence.


Theme(s): (IRIN) Aid Policy, (IRIN) Refugees/IDPs


Copyright © IRIN 2008
This material comes to you via IRIN, the humanitarian news and analysis service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the United Nations or its Member States.
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