Iraq emergency plans need airing, says Human Rights Watch

07 March 2003
The UN and donor governments' plans for dealing with the humanitarian crisis likely to follow war in Iraq should be aired more completely to facilitate co-ordination, Human Rights Watch Middle East director Hania Mufti told the Iraq Development Forum in London on 7 March. She said there are up to 1 million displaced Iraqis within Iraq and in neighbouring states who could return quickly following regime change. This includes an estimated 150,000 Marsh Arab refugees in Iran and another 45,000 Marsh Arabs living in Iraq. Up to 300,000 Faili (Persian-speaking Kurds) are living in refugee camps in Iran. 'About 4 million Iraqis are living outside Iraq,' Mufti said. 'Perhaps about 2 million of them are refugees who fled or were displaced.' Issues facing a post-crisis government include the need to compensate displaced Kurds returning to Kirkuk and other areas in Iraq where a forced 'Arabisation' campaign was launched in the late 1980s. Mufti called for a 'truth and reconciliation' process in post-crisis Iraq. 'Such a process must be linked to getting information about the fate of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people who are unaccounted for,' she said.

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