From Refugees International:
Uprooted and Unstable in Iraq
“We are getting tired,” an Iraqi mother told Refugees International on our recent mission inside Iraq. “We just need a decent house to live in and decent food to live off of…” This woman and her family live rent-free in a house provided by the Sadrist movement after being forced from their home. Refugees International found that Iraqi militias are the main providers of food, clothing, oil and other basic resources to 2.7 million internally displaced Iraqis, because the Iraqi government and international community are failing to assist them. Our report, Uprooted and Unstable: Meeting Urgent Humanitarian Needs in Iraq, cautions that if this problem is not addressed, it will have dire consequences for the humanitarian and security situation in Iraq. The report recommends that aid organizations, including the UN, partner with local groups inside Iraq, and discourages refugee returns until more effective aid channels are established.
Also read Five Years Later, A Hidden Crisis, a new report issued by the International Rescue Committee’s Commission on Iraqi Refugees.
Related: via Feminist Peace Network, IRIN press release:
A study published in March by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on the mental state of Iraqis in Jordan and Lebanon has pointed to mounting social and economic problems as the cause of increased domestic violence.
“Most families prefer to sweep their problems under the carpet because [to them] reputation matters more than anything else,” said Shankul Kader from the Jordanian-Iraqi Brotherhood Society, a non-governmental organisation trying to help the Iraqi community in Jordan.
“The fact that most men are forced to stay at home due to the lack of jobs, and the lack of social interaction among the refugees, has heightened tension in households,” the study said. It revealed that 15 percent of women interviewed in female-only focus groups reported an increase in family violence.
“A well-raised Iraqi woman should tolerate everything in silence… My husband has no other way to get rid of his anger,” one woman told researchers.
Since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, over half a million Iraqis have moved to Jordan, hoping to return home when things improve.
Most Iraqis in Jordan are middle class, but over the years their savings have run down, and there are few jobs. Only about 22 percent of Iraqi adults in Jordan work; the rest are jobless, according to a recent study by the Norway-based FAFO Institute for Applied International Studies.
A large number of Iraqis rely on financial aid from relatives outside the Middle East, mostly in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Sweden, while others rely on temporary jobs, as immigration rules prevent them from holding permanent jobs.
“Men resort to violence because of social and economic pressures. Iraqis in Jordan are living in constant worry about their future,” Shankul said.
Activists involved in helping Jordanian women survive domestic violence say their doors are open to Iraqi women. Asma Khader, a women’s rights activist and lawyer, said the Jordan Federation for Women is engaged in activities to help abused Iraqi women. “Social barriers remain the biggest challenge in tackling domestic problems,” she told IRIN.
Also see “Terrible things happened to me”: Violence against Iraqi women and girls and Voices of Iraqi Refugee Women and Girls in Jordan, both from the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children, which also produced the following video on gender-based violence against Iraqi women and girls in Jordan:
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