February 15, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Pace Of Refugee Returns To Iraq Picked Up In 2012


The number of Iraqi refugees returning to their homes saw a large increase in 2012. This was the second straight year that the number of people coming back went up after taking a large dip in 2010. In fact, four of the last five years has seen an annual return rate of over 200,000 people. The United Nations pointed to the improved security situation, and the money offered by the government as the main reasons why so many have decided to move. That ignored the most obvious motivation, which was the conflict next door in Syria, the country with the largest number of Iraqi expatriates in the world. Whatever the reason, the trend is for more and more people to take the path back to Iraq, which could mean in time the nation’s huge refugee problem could one day be resolved.
Iraqi refugees at UNHCR offices in Syria, 2010 (U.N.)
Almost two million displaced Iraqis have made the decision to return since 2003. In 2012, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recorded 301,060 people making the trip back. In 2011, 260,690 came back. That was more than double the rate for 2010 when only 118,890 made the trip due to uncertainty over national elections that occurred that year. Before that 204,830 returned in 2009, 221,260 in 2008, while there was a large drop in 2007 with only 81,420 coming back. That last year was when violence increased in the country due to the American Surge. 2008 saw the end of the civil war, which accounts for why four of the last five years has seen 200,000 plus returnees per annum. In total, from 2003 to 2012, 1,859,966 displaced and refugees have come back to their homes. The most common figures for the total number of Iraqi refugees is 2.5 million, and 2.7 million displaced, although some believe there might be far fewer. If those statistics are accurate, just over one-third have since reversed course and come back. With the current trend there appears little reason to believe that in a decade or so most of the displaced and refugees might return as well. Despite the terrorist attacks, security in Iraq is rather stable, the booming oil industry is pumping in large amounts of money into the economy, both of which mean the majority of people have returned to their normal lives, and are looking for opportunities. That gives ample reasons enough for displacement to eventually end.
Overall Returns 2003-2012
2003: Displaced 0, Refugees 55,429, Total 55,429
2004: Displaced 98,000, Refugees 193,997, Total 291,997
2005: Displaced 98,000, Refugees 56,155, Total 154,155
2006: Displaced 150,000, Refugees 20,235, Total 170,235
2007: Displaced 36,000 Refugees 45,420, Total 81,420
2008: Displaced 195,890, Refugees 25,370, Total 221,260
2009: Displaced 167,740, Refugees 37,090, Total 204,830
2010: Displaced 92,480, Refugees 26,410, Total 118,890
2011: Displaced 193,610, Refugees 67,080, Total 260,690
2012: Displaced 216,160, Refugees 84,900, Total 301,060
TOTAL: 1,859,966

UNHCR: Iraqi refugees in “critical need”

January 27, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment

UNHCR: Iraqi refugees in “critical need”

UNHCR said that some 190,000 Iraqi refugees are in dire need of assistance

AFP , Wednesday 26 Jan 2011

The head of the UN’s refugee agency on Wednesday appealed for 280 million dollars to help some 190,000 Iraqi refugees, the majority of them in Lebanon and Syria.

Continue Reading UNHCR: Iraqi refugees in “critical need”…

MIDDLE EAST: Iraqi refugees – interpreting the statistics

December 28, 2010 at 11:57 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment

MIDDLE EAST: Iraqi refugees – interpreting the statistics

DAMASCUS, 28 December 2010 (IRIN) – Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis fled the country after sectarian violence broke out following the 2003 war which toppled Saddam Hussein. However, the precise number of refugees is hard to ascertain and fluctuates in line with changing perceptions and the security situation in Iraq.

Continue Reading MIDDLE EAST: Iraqi refugees – interpreting the statistics…

“The Iraqi Refugees in the Past, Present and Future” Conference

December 13, 2010 at 7:26 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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 “The Iraqi Refugees in the Past, Present and Future” Conference HeldThe conference entitled as “The Iraqi Refugees in the Past, Present and Future” which was organized with the cooperation between ORSAM and Galatasaray University was held on December 8, 2010 in Galatasaray University. In the conference presided by the Prof. Dr. Kemal Kirişçi from Boğaziçi University, Dr. Didem Danış from Galatasaray University, ORSAM Middle Eastern Adviser Serhat Erkmen and ORSAM Middle Eastern Specialist Bilgay Duman participated in the conference to deliver a speech. Among the highly interested audience, Retired Ambassador Sönmez Köksal and some authorities from various non-governmental organizations, primarily from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees have participated in the conference.

Additionally, in the meeting Assoc. Dr. Füsun Türkmen from Galatasaray University delivered an opening speech.

The first speaker in the meeting was Serhat Erkmen. Having told generally the political developments after 2003 in Iraq, Erkmen stated how these developments triggered the migration in Iraq. Underlining that the disintegration having emerged after 2003 did not only raise the emigration, but also it caused some results related to internal migration, he stressed that some possible events in the problematic areas called as “controversial areas” may cause new migration waves and stated that Turkey may be affected by them in a negative way.

The next speaker getting the floor, Bilgay Duman carried out a more specific presentation and informed the audience about the Turkmen migration towards Turkey and about the situation of Turkmens living in Turkey. Emphasizing that the Turkmen migration towards Turkey have carried on since the foundation of Iraq, Duman said that during this process various political, social and economic reasons accelerated the Turkmen migration towards Turkey and that some specific reasons such as religion, language, kinship, conveniences towards Turk-originated people in Turkey, the influence of Turkmen’s relatives from Turkey resulted in making Turkey the first destination in the migration of Turkmen people. “On the other hand, the Turkmen’s migration towards Turkey had been individual until 1990s, however after 1990 some mass migrations have taken place.” said Duman. Having stated that for the present time the Turkmen migration towards Turkey have continued, Duman indicated that there has been a significant Turkmen existence in Turkey and that they have become a part of Turkey.

The last speaker taking the floor, Didem Danış talked in general about the reasons of the migration in Iraq and told the situation of the external and internal migrations in Iraq. Danış divided the migration in Iraq into three periods and defined these periods as the period before 2003, between 2003 and 2006 and after 2007. Underlining that between 1991and 2003, Iran let in millions of Iraqis, but passed this mission on Syria and Jordan after 2003, Danış stated that while about 2 millions of Iraqi have taken shelter in the neighboring Arab countries escaping from the violence and conflict atmosphere, the amount of Iraqi in Turkey was considerably low. Evaluating also the affects of the migration from Iraq, Danış mentioned the most important result of that as the extinction of the religious and ethnic diversity in Iraq and another result of that situation as the fragmentation in social terms. Finally, Danış stated the most severe result of the migration in Iraq as the loss of the grown man force in Iraq and said that this situation would be the most problematic factor in the reconstruction process of Iraq.

 December 13 2010

REFUGEES: UNHCR concerned over Iraqi deportations

September 29, 2010 at 8:00 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment

REFUGEES: UNHCR concerned over Iraqi deportations

LONDON, 29 September 2010 (IRIN) – The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has expressed concern about the growing number of deportations of Iraqi asylum-seekers from Western Europe in the last two months.

Special charter flights to take failed asylum-seekers home have increased in frequency, and Iraqis are being returned to parts of the country which are still unsafe, in contravention of UNHCR guidelines for the handling of Iraqi asylum applications, it says.

The deportations are handled by Frontex, a Warsaw-based agency set up to coordinate operations between European Union (EU) member states in the field of border security, and their planes can carry returnees from several different countries. The most recent (on 22 September) had failed asylum applicants from Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands and the UK.

One of the UNHCR’s complaints is that the information provided by those countries is usually sketchy, varies from country to country and is given only very late in the process. In the case of last week’s flight, Sweden told the UNHCR the names and dates of birth of those being sent home, but not their destinations. The UK provided details of where its rejected claimants were going but not their identities.

No country told the UNHCR how many of the passengers being put on board the plane were going home voluntarily, and how many were being deported against their will, but reports from Baghdad say police had to be called to escort some of them off the plane.

A spokesperson for the UNHCR, Sybella Wilkes, called for states sending home asylum-seekers to be more transparent. “We are aware when a flight is leaving,” she told IRIN, “but we don’t know until the last minute who is on board or which countries they are coming from.”

The organization does not oppose people being sent back to Iraq in every case. “It’s possible that some people on the plane were going back voluntarily,” Wilkes said. “It’s possible that some were going to areas where we don’t have issues about security. But we don’t know. Having full information would be in everybody’s best interests.”

What they do know is that among the passengers leaving Sweden were two women and four children, and the UNHCR certainly would have an issue with any forced deportation of children. The British government said all those it was sending last week were single adult males, but their destinations included Baghdad, Ninawa, Kirkuk and Salah ad-Din – all areas the UNHCR considers unsafe.

Five governorates unsafe

“We are very clear in our guidelines,” said Sybella Wilkes. “Baghdad, Diyala, Kirkuk, Ninawa and Salah ad-Din are still not safe, in view of serious human rights violations and continuing security incidents in those areas. We specifically ask governments not to return people to those five governorates, and we are disappointed they are ignoring our guidelines.”

The general secretary of the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees, Dashty Jamal, blamed the rise in forced removals on the electoral success of right wing parties in a number of European countries. He told IRIN: “Most of the EU countries’ right-wing parties have united together to change their immigration policy, and deport back all Iraqis who apply for asylum in their country.”

He said that as well as the charter flights run by Frontex, individual refugees are being sent back almost every night on scheduled flights to Jordan. “I believe that no part of Iraq is safe, even Kurdistan. It is like the UN saying that Berne in Switzerland is safe but Zurich is not safe. This is not the time to send people back. They are playing with the lives of innocent people.”

Contacted by IRIN, the UK’s border agency denied there had been any overall policy recently to deport more Iraqi asylum-seekers. Detailed figures of deportations over the past two months are not yet available, but a spokesperson insisted that every case is looked at individually and considered on its merits. “We only ever return those whom the Border Agency and the courts are satisfied are not in need of our protection, and who have failed to comply with a request to leave.”

Are the Agency and the courts ignoring the UNHCR guidelines on safe and unsafe areas? “A whole range of factors are taken into account,” the spokesperson told IRIN. “And from the UK’s point of view we have to be satisfied that they don’t need our protection.”

The UNHCR has been lobbying since June against the forced removals to Iraq, but says so far they have not seen any shift in position by Western European governments. Sybella Wilkes says she is disappointed. “I would like them to consider that they have a minority of Iraqi asylum-seekers in their countries. And this is not a very positive example when Iraq’s neighbours have much greater numbers, and have been much more generous and welcoming.”

Dashty Jamal told IRIN on 28 September that a number of Iraqis in the UK had received tickets for a flight back to Iraq on 6 October, and that a demonstration was being planned that day outside the Iraqi embassy in London to protest at the way returnees are treated when they get to Baghdad.

For the chart please click on the link below

Refugee Returns September 2009 – August 2010 (Individuals)
of Return
Sep-09 Oct-09 Nov-09 Dec-09 Jan-10 Feb-10 Mar-10 Apr-10 May-10 Jun-10 Jul-10 Aug-10 Total September
2009 – August 2010
Anbar 0 10 0 0 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 20 0%
Babylon 90 80 60 110 50 50 50 50 40 60 50 40 730 3%
Baghdad 830 1,700 1,130 1,080 860 780 720 780 780 870 570 890 10,990 40%
Basrah 10 230 100 30 40 10 30 50 40 20 40 40 640 2%
Dahuk 20 90 0 10 10 0 10 0 0 10 0 10 160 1%
Qadissyah 80 30 30 70 440 410 480 440 510 330 270 100 3,190 12%
Diyala 130 230 220 160 170 120 70 60 100 80 70 100 1,510 6%
Erbil 40 0 90 50 20 40 300 20 10 320 80 110 1,080 4%
Kerbala 80 150 130 130 60 160 120 170 160 120 100 160 1,540 6%
Kirkuk 50 30 60 50 40 30 40 50 100 0 20 50 520 2%
Missan 20 110 60 10 530 20 20 20 430 140 10 10 1,380 5%
Muthanna 50 50 40 50 60 30 10 60 50 140 160 10 710 3%
Najaf 70 80 40 130 210 190 240 120 70 100 80 130 1,460 5%
Ninewa 10 10 10 10 0 0 0 30 30 10 10 10 130 0%
Salah al-Din 50 60 110 30 30 40 60 30 40 10 40 30 530 2%
Sulaymaniyah 10 30 0 30 0 0 0 10 10 10 0 10 110 0%
Thi-Qar 90 90 170 200 260 240 260 230 210 240 200 80 2,270 8%
Wassit 20 20 50 90 30 40 40 10 30 20 40 70 460 2%
TOTAL 1,650 3,000 2,300 2,240 2,820 2,160 2,450 2,130 2,610 2,480 1,740 1,850 27,430 100%
Data source: MoDM, DDM, City Councils Baghdad, Diyala. All data has been collected inside Iraq. All figures have been rounded to the nearest 10.


Iraq: coping with violence and striving to earn a living

March 31, 2010 at 9:08 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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In a variety of different ways, the ICRC has been helping Iraqi individuals and communities to be self-sufficient economically. This is an update on ICRC activities carried out in Iraq since the beginning of the year.

30-03-2010  Operational update  

The beginning of 2010 was marred by acts of violence that claimed the lives of hundreds of civilians, mainly in Baghdad, the central governorates and Najaf. In Mosul, families fled violence and sought refuge in safer areas. Although recent violence-related displacement has been sporadic, there remain some 2.8 million internally displaced people (IDPs) in Iraq who had to leave their homes over recent years in search of safety.Many Iraqis, especially those worst affected by the effects of the conflict and the ongoing violence, such as displaced, elderly and disabled people and women heading households, continued to struggle to feed their families. Their inability to buy enough of the essential goods they require remains a major concern.

Agriculture, formerly an important part of the economy, has been declining for the past decade. Individuals who have lost agricultural machinery to damage, age or disrepair often cannot replace it owing to a lack of financial wherewithal. In addition, the water supply has been hard hit by a failure to properly maintain pumping stations and irrigation and distribution canals, by the unreliable electricity supply and by higher fuel costs. The massive increase in the price of seed and fertilizer, and cheap imports from neighbouring countries, also play a role in making farming difficult, if not impossible, in many parts of Iraq. Many farmers try to survive by cultivating smaller patches of land, but as they are forced to use low-quality supplies the result is often poor harvests. Others have migrated to cities in search of other ways of earning a living.

Continue Reading Iraq: coping with violence and striving to earn a living…

SYRIA: The road to third country resettlement for Iraqi refugees

March 1, 2010 at 10:55 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
SYRIA: The road to third country resettlement for Iraqi refugees

DAMASCUS, 1 March 2010 (IRIN) – Only a tiny fraction of the estimated two million Iraqi refugees and asylum-seekers in the Middle East end up being resettled in a third country. Why is this, and how does the system work?

Third country resettlement is a possible option for those unable to repatriate or integrate into their host country, according to refugee agencies.

Resettlement is explored when refugees are unable to repatriate voluntarily and their life, liberty, safety, health or fundamental human rights are at risk in their country of origin or in the country where they have sought refuge, according to Vincent Cohetel, deputy director of the UN Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) Division of International Protection Services.

Continue Reading SYRIA: The road to third country resettlement for Iraqi refugees…

Report by Minority Rights Group International: Uncertainty and injustice for minority refugees from Iraq

September 25, 2009 at 11:27 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Uncertainty and injustice for minority refugees from Iraq – new report

24 September 2009


To download full report please visit:


Refugees from Iraq’s minorities face insecurity and risk losing their religious and cultural identity as they try to seek refuge in neighbouring countries and Western Europe, a report by Minority Rights Group International says.

In a landmark new report on the situation of Iraqi uprooted minorities, MRG says that many of the people who flee Iraq undertake very dangerous journeys to get to Europe often only to be met with restrictive asylum policies, discrimination and in some cases forcible return.

A disproportionate number of those fleeing Iraq – somewhere between 15-64 per cent, depending on the country of refuge – are minorities, including Christians, Circassians, Sabian Mandaeans, Shabaks, Turkmen and Yazidis.

‘Minorities are leaving Iraq because they are specifically targeted for attack due to their religion and culture, but getting out of the country is no guarantee of their safety and security,’ says Carl Soderbergh, MRG’s Director of Policy and Communications.

‘Many European countries are now rejecting asylum applications and returning people to Iraq despite the fact that attacks on minorities have actually increased in some areas,’ he adds.

Continue Reading Report by Minority Rights Group International: Uncertainty and injustice for minority refugees from Iraq…

The tears of a migrant in Calais’ “Jungle” refugee camp

September 23, 2009 at 10:46 pm | Posted in Turkmens | 1 Comment
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Afghan immigrant

An Afghan migrant cries as police evacuate him. Photograph: Pascal Rossignol/Reuters


There will be no ‘invasion’ from ‘jungle camps’

The persistence of camps appearing along the Normandy coast is a sympton of the failure of a wider European asylum policy


At a moment when the Labour home secretary, Alan Johnson, expresses his “delight” at the pitiful sight of hundreds of French police rounding up mainly Afghan asylum seekers in a makeshift camp in Calais, it is time to defend the right to claim asylum in Britain.

Johnson, in language that seems more concerned about the Daily Mail front page than the wording of the 1951 Geneva convention on asylum, pre-judges the issue by talking about protecting “genuine” refugees but insisting they should not be allowed to come to Britain to have their claims decided.

As far as the home secretary is concerned the “swift and decisive” action by the French in clearing the “Jungle” refugee camp is a clear signal that Nicholas Sarkozy’s government will build even stronger controls at the Calais border with Britain.

Continue Reading The tears of a migrant in Calais’ “Jungle” refugee camp…

A Sad New Record for Iraq

March 27, 2009 at 1:43 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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 A Sad New Record for Iraq


According to an UNHCR report, published March 24 2009, Iraqi refugees are heading the list of asylum applications worldwide for 2008: For the third consecutive year, Iraq was the leading country of origin. The number of Iraqi claims is almost twice as high as those submitted by Somali asylum-seekers, the second most important source country. Other important source countries are the Russian Federation, Afghanistan, China, and Serbia.

Iraqis lodged some 40,500 new asylum claims during the year, or roughly every tenth application in the industrialized world. This figure is a 10 per cent decrease compared to 2007 (45,100 claims). The 2007 and 2008 levels are still below the ones witnessed between 2000 and 2002 when, on average, 50,000 Iraqis sought international protection in the industrialized world.”



It proves that it is not an overstatement to say that the sanctions, the invasion and the occupation of Iraq constitute one of the largest humanitarian disasters of our time. And yet the press does not recognize it as such and world public opinion is unaware of it. And this in spite of the many shocking reports (like the recent Oxfam report on the situation of Women). One can consider this fact as nothing less than a form of collective negationism. We have to break the silence!


Lieven De Cauter
Department of Architecture and Urban Planning, Kuleuven
Mediaschool Rits, Brussels
Berlage Institute, Rotterdam
BRussells Tribunal

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