human rights watch

torsdag 17 september 2015

Kurdistan host 1.8 million refugees, eases Europe’s burden (video)

Kurdistan host 1.8 million refugees, eases Europe’s burden (video)
Earlier this month Germany said that it expected 800,000 refugees to arrive in that country by the end of the year and that it could take in an additional 500,000 per year if need be.

However, a large and wealthy country like Germany with approximately 82 million people is more than capable of gradually absorbing such big numbers. Especially compared to the small Kurdistan Region that has had to deal with the massive influx of 1.8 million displaced Iraqi Arabs, Christians and Syrian for more than two years.

Syria's neighbours have also taken in many Syrians displaced by that horrible war. Lebanon's small landmass and population is most affected by approximately 1.2 million refugees, Turkey hosts 2 million and in Jordan more than 600,000 Syrians have registered with the UN refugee agency (UNHCR). Kurdistan Regional Government host 1.8 million refuges which makes it the second largest refuge hoster in Middle-east. Considering Kurdistan Regional Government is not a country and not as wealthy as Germany, the Kurdish region is facing many similar, if not greater, challenges as those other countries.

The ISIS war brought to the Kurdistan Region half million refugees from Mosul, Tikrit, Diyala and from as far away as Ramadi and Falluja. They may be technically categorized as Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) since they went from one part of the country to the other, but the burden on Erbil to provide shelter, safety and food is immense. Kurdistan's problem is much more like Lebanon's than Germany's or Turkey's considering its own small size and the enormity and sudden influx of the refugees.

The refugees and migrants arrive in Europe in a slow process and smaller numbers compared to the frantic exodus of hundreds-of-thousands who showed up at the Kurdish borders during the ISIS blitzkrieg. This burden on the KRG is worsened by the decline in oil prices and Baghdad’s economic and budget war with Erbil for more than a year where civil servants and even the Peshmerga soldiers go for months without pay.

Now, as Europe grapples with its refugee crisis they shouldn't forget Kurdistan Region holding back such huge numbers and the fact that by doing so it has eased Europe’s burden.

The European Union can reduce the number of refuges and migrants showing up on its borders and the risks they take at sea by supporting refugee camps in the Middle East, especially the Kurdistan Region which is under financial strain from Baghdad and constant threat from ISIS yet has left its doors open to those seeking shelter.

Article written by: Paul Iddon


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