Iceland Takes Palestinians who fled Iraq

Iceland is a very small country that has been very gracious with resettling some of those who fled from Iraq. 

By Ernesto Londoño
Washington Post Foreign Service

BAGHDAD, Sept. 8 — Iceland has agreed to resettle nearly 30 Palestinian refugees who have lived for two years at a desolate camp on the Iraqi-Syrian border, the U.N. refugee agency announced Monday. The refugees, who were expected to leave Iraq on Monday, include widows of men killed during the war and their children, according to a statement by the U.N. High Commissioner for RefugeesSaddam Hussein protected Iraq’s Palestinian community, which included approximately 34,000 people when he was deposed in the spring of 2003. Between 10,000 and 15,000 Palestinians remain in Iraq, according to the United Nations. Palestinians living in Iraq have been particularly difficult to resettle. Syria and Jordan, the two countries that have taken in the majority of Iraqi refugees, have refused to take in many Palestinians out of concern that thousands would follow. Few countries have heeded the U.N. refugee agency’s call to open their doors to Palestinians living in Iraq. More than 2,000 Palestinians have languished at two austere camps near the Syrian border for years, including some with severe ailments who have had scarce access to medical care. Iceland resettles 25 to 30 refugees a year. This is the first group of refugees from Iraq that the country has accepted.

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Filed under Humanitarian, Iraq, Iraqi Refugees, Palestine/Israel

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