Thursday, February 15, 2007

A Drop in the Bucket

[posted by Callimachus]

But better than no bucket at all.

The Bush administration hopes to resettle about 7,000 Iraqi refugees to the United States this year, the State Department said Wednesday.

The decision comes amid pressure from the U.S. Congress and the international community to do more about the growing refugee crisis.

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres estimates as many as 2 million Iraqis have left their country since the war began and another 1.7 million have moved within Iraq as a result of increased sectarian violence.

The United States has been criticized for accepting a small number of refugees since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. The United States has taken in 466 Iraqi refugees since then.

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with Guterres to outline a new U.S. program for Iraqi refugees, which includes $18 million for additional funding for UNHCR to assist with resettlement of refugees in other countries and humanitarian aid.

The plan is the work of a new task force announced last week to study the Iraqi refugee issue.

U.S. Undersecretary of State Paula Dobriansky, who led the task force, said the United States would attempt to resettle about 7,000 Iraqi refugees from countries where they have fled from Iraq.

More here.

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