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Parliament committee demands fixed budget to aid the displaced

An elderly Iraqi refugee sleeps rough on the streets of Amman, Jordan. Even if Iraqis manage to flee the violence in their own country, they often face hardships in neighbouring nations.
(Dana Hazeen/IRIN)

With no end in sight for the plight of Iraqis displaced in and outside their country, a comprehensive, long-term government policy and budget to assist them is urgently required, an Iraqi parliamentary committee said on 9 February.

[Read this report in Arabic]

“We believe that occasional financial support given by the government, national and international organisations is not enough to solve this problem,” said MP Abdul-Khaliq Zankana, head of parliament’s Displacement and Migration Committee.

“So the government has to adopt a fixed, clear and comprehensive policy that leads to an assigned budget as this problem [displacement] is unlikely to be solved in months or even years,” Zankana told IRIN.

Zankana proposed that the government should take advantage of an increase in national oil output and soaring world oil prices by allocating a percentage of oil revenues for a budget for aiding the displaced.

“We propose 3 to 5 percent of national oil revenues should be allocated to this problem as they [displaced families] have become not only a burden on the Iraqi government but on all host countries as well,” he said.

Oil production and exports

Over the past year, Iraq has increased its oil production and exports, thanks to improved security in some key areas, especially in the north. This has led to the resumption of the pumping of petroleum through a pipeline that links Iraq’s northern oil fields to Turkey.

''We propose 3 to 5 percent of national oil revenues should be allocated to this problem as they [displaced families] have become not only a burden on the Iraqi government but on all host countries as well.''

Sabotage left idle the pipeline that links the Kirkuk oil fields with the Turkish Ceyhan export terminal for most of the time from 2003 until the end of August 2007.

Since the 2003 US-led invasion, Iraq’s oil production has hovered between 1.7 million and 2 million barrels per day, according to oil ministry statistics.

Its prewar production was 2.6 million barrels per day.

In January 2007, production was 1.9 million barrels per day. It soared to 2.4 million barrels per day in November and inched up to almost 2.5 million barrels per day in December, oil ministry statistics state.

In 2007, the nearly 600 million barrels of oil (about 1.6 million barrels per day) that Iraq exported was sold at prices ranging from US$48 to US$83 a barrel – hence the Displacement and Migration Committee’s urgent call for a cut of oil revenues to be assigned to helping the displaced.

4.2 million forced from homes

Iraq’s displacement problem dates back nearly 25 years as a result of some of the policies adopted by the government of late president Saddam Hussein and the three wars the country fought: the 1980-88 Iraq-Iran war, the first Gulf War following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1991; and the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, which toppled Hussein.

According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), more than 4.2 million Iraqis have fled their homes during this period – the majority having fled since the 2003 war began. Of these, some 2.2 million Iraqis are displaced internally, while more than 2 million have fled to neighbouring states, largely Syria and Jordan.


This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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