Jul 9, 2014, 2:43 PM
News Code: 2720780
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Daily calls for urgent need to resolve Iraqi refugee crisis

Tehran, July 9, IRNA - 'Kayhan International' on Wednesday commenting on the current Iraqi refugee crisis, urged Iraqi leaders, would-be leaders, and their backers in the international community, to act responsibly and work toward resolving the critical situation in that country and ensure that members of all communities (Shia and Sunni) are protected and their rights respected.

The floods of Iraqis trying to escape the medieval atrocities of ISIL terrorists has doubled the country's displaced population. According to the UN, over 1.6m people - nearly one out of 30 - in Iraq are now displaced, noted the English-language paper.

Some people are seeking refuge in Iraqi Kurdistan while others are travelling southwards to the capital and beyond. The former are mostly Sunni Muslims who fear the harsh rule of the ISIL's "caliphate”, while the latter are Shia Muslims from the Turkmen and Shabak communities who are trying to flee southwards to government-controlled areas where they feel there is no risk of a terrorist takeover, noted the paper.

It is now evident that the massive upheaval of Iraq’s population threatens the long-term stability of the country, regardless of short-term gains achieved through the political process or military surges.

Symptomatic of a destabilized Iraq, displaced populations are themselves a source of future destabilization. Many Middle Eastern countries experienced instability resulting from Palestinians displaced after the western-backed establishment of the Zionist regime of Israel in 1948, the last refugee crisis of comparable proportions in the region.

Problems originating from the Palestinian refugee crisis continue today, and the wheels of a new refugee crisis have been set in motion with over four million of Iraq’s original 26 million inhabitants displaced since 2003, representing about 20 percent of its pre-war population.

The UN says an estimated two million Iraqi refugees now reside predominantly in Syria and Jordan, and an additional estimated 1.6 million are internally displaced persons.

The internally displaced Iraqis face challenges similar to those of the refugees, but without assistance from international organizations or the option of resettlement to safer countries.

Exact figures - both of refugees and of Iraq’s pre-war population - do not exist, and numbers are disputed by the government of Iraq, the UN, and host countries. However, these figures are the ones most quoted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and other organizations involved in the Iraq refugee and displacement crisis.

Regardless of political wrangling between Baghdad and Irbil, though, it is imperative that civilians displaced by the ongoing conflict are granted refuge in and safe passage through Kurdish-controlled areas, it is imperitive that those shouldering responsibility should genuinely work toward resolving the current crisis in disarrayed Iraq, concluded the paper.