News: UNHCR Reports New Number of Internally Displaced Persons in Iraq

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The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has reported that internally displaced persons (IDP) in Iraq are now estimated to be 2.77 million people. The report states that the increase of 300,000 people since the last count in December 2007 is largely due to a improved data entry and not a severe rise in IDP. The report notes:

new displacement is continuing at a much lower pace than in the previous two years, which is partly due to the presence of more homogenous communities, districts and neighbourhoods; consequent media information campaigns; a decrease in security incidents; restriction of freedom of movement in many Iraqi governorates; and exhaustion of resources for many families.

New secondary displacement has been reported in Baghdad, however. Many of the Iraqis who decided to return to Iraq the end of last year – often after having run out of resources – found themselves displaced again in Baghdad as property had been destroyed, looted or occupied. A total of 40 percent of surveyed IDPs in Baghdad fled due to direct threats and forced eviction from their property, while between 10-17 percent fled due to generalized violence and fear.

It is interesting to note that the report states that many refugees, likely from Syria and Jordan, who have returned to Iraq now find themselves as internally displaced persons and are unable to settle in their old homes and neighborhoods.


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