Iraqis face "grim" return home, migration organisation says

14th April 2008, Comments 0 comments

Survey shows that thousands of displaced Iraqis returning home find themselves unemployed and engaged in disputes over home ownerships.

14 April 2008

GENEVA - Thousands of displaced Iraqis returning home often faced a "grim" situation as they attempted to pick up their lives again, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said Friday.

The first survey of returnees in Iraq carried out by the IOM with Iraq's Ministry for Displacement and Migration assessed more than 5,000 people out of 78,200 returnees.

IOM's chief of mission for Iraq Rafiq Tschannen said: "The situation for those returning is grim and isn't necessarily an improvement from when they were displaced. Many returnees are unemployed while only a fraction has received any form of humanitarian assistance other than some food rations."

The number of people returning home represented a tiny fraction, less than 1 percent, of the estimated 5 million Iraqis who had been displaced internally and abroad.

Less than a fifth of all returnees had travelled back from abroad.

Priority needs among those assessed were food, fuel, non-food items such as furniture and electricity, and access to health care and medications.

Two thirds of returnees were to Baghdad with March 2007 the peak month. Lack of access to health care in this region was the worst in the country.

There were also more disputes here over home ownership after houses had been occupied by other families.

Future large scale returns would require a policy framework for handling property claims to prevent renewed tensions, IOM said.

[dpa / Expatica]

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