Middle East Council of Churches

Unofficial news from the Middle Eastern Christian Ecumenical organization.

Maintained by Tom Scudder

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Friday, June 25, 2004
Some comments on possible flows of Iraqi refugees, from Edmond Adam, who coordinates MECC relief work in Baghdad but is for the moment in Beirut, paraphrased:
  • You could call it a flood of people, mostly well-off people who have some money and can find their own accommodations, coming in to Jordan and Syria to stay for a few months and evaluate the situation in Iraq after that time.
  • Jordan is implementing a strict policy towards refugees, turning most of the people who show up at the border back. On the other hand, Syria has an open border policy. There are not a lot of people going to Iran.
  • The Jordanian-Iraqi border will be closed on June 30. Starting July 1, there is supposed to be a visa system for coming into Iraq, but nobody yet knows which nationalities will need visas or how this will be enforced.
  • He doesn't think there will be a mass refugee outflow from Iraq of the sort that will require camps or other emergency-response measures. In case of internal displacement within Iraq, there are no international NGOs now operating there, and there are no local Iraqi organizations with the capacity to deal with mass flows, and given the problems with moving goods around (particularly the continued lawlessness & banditry along the roads) there's no real prospect of building that kind of capacity.

This post was inspired by some comments from Juan Cole on the Informed Comment weblog.
posted by Tom at 12:24 PM

Wednesday, June 23, 2004
On the official site, a story about the new refugee social services center opened in Beirut & the world refugee day celebration.

Refugees sell their handicrafts at the opening of the new center
posted by Tom at 5:01 PM