Monday, April 16, 2007

[wvns] HALF WORLD REFUGEES MUSLIMS

UNHCR: MORE THAN HALF WORLD REFUGEES ARE MUSLIMS
Sunday, February 04, 2007
http://www.themedialine.org/news/news_detail.asp?NewsID=16608


More than half the refugees in the world today are Muslims, the head
of the United Nations refugee agency said during a trip to the Middle
East.

Out of an estimated nine million refugees in the world, some five
million are Muslim, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
António Guterres said.

During his trip, which began in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, he said he
hoped to strengthen cooperation with Muslim countries and find a
solution for the large number of Iraqis who are fleeing the violence
in their country.

After the Saudi Kingdom, Guterres will head for Kuwait, Jordan and
Syria, the agency said.

The UNHCR estimates that out of a total population of 26 million, some
1.8 million Iraqis are currently displaced internally, while up to two
million others have fled to other countries, many heading for Syria
and Jordan.

The UNHCR is planning an international conference in April to discuss
the state of Iraqi refugees, with the aim of repatriating 20,000 of
them in non-Arab countries, Guterres said, according to the
London-based A-Sharq Al-Awsat.

Guterres expressed particular concern about the situation of
Palestinian refugees in Iraq who have faced increased harassment since
the war began in 2003.

Hundreds of Palestinians have fled Iraq and are currently stranded on
the Iraqi-Syrian border, while the Syrian government refuses to allow
them entry, Human Rights Watch said. The Palestinian population in
Iraq numbered some 34,000 before Saddam Hussein was ousted. Today they
number about 15,000, HRW estimates.

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