Posted by: bklunk | February 12, 2007

Whose Responsibility

Here is an interesting reflection from Internation Relations on the plight of refugees from the civil war/insurgency in Iraq. Under international law, refugees have a right to be received, but it is less clear who has the responsibility to accept and care for refugees.

And who else shall aid the flood of Iraqi refugees?

In the BBC article “Sweden urges EU to take in Iraqis” The Swedish governement basically is asking for more involvement in the aid of the Iraqi refugees. The swedish ministry is quoted as saying “Sweden can help many of them but Sweden cannot help all of them,”. This shows in some aspects how the Swedish government is feeling a little overwhelmed, especially these days where the number of asylum seekers is pegged at 9,000 just in 2006. The total number of Iraqis who now live in Sweden is at 80,000.

Sweden is definitaly doing its part in this grave humanitarian crisis. Allowing that number of foreigners into their country shows a commitment to humanitarian services. If the rest of the EU would stop its usual rhetoric of the war being ill-conceived and live in the present I am sure that many more lives could be made better and even saved.

Of course one must also see that the Iraqis need to receive aid from their own neighbors, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, and the rest of the middle east. What ends up happening more often then not is the refugees will only go to countries that are dominated by the same sect of islam that they follow, which should morally not be the case, but it is what it is.

The article states that “Authority expects the number of Iraqis applying for asylum to double in 2007.” This is most likely a accurate forecast especially since the sectarian violence is at its all time high and the flow of asylum seekers only grows with each passing month. With this tide of refugees, it is the international communitie’s moral obligation to provide aid and shelter a people left homeless by a war with no end in sight. Of course this is only the liberal, idealist position.

technorati tags:, ,

Blogged with Flock



  1. This is a very interesting topic, the issue of Iraqi refugees. I think that Sweden is more than doing there part by taking in 80,00 Iraqi refugees into their nation. However, I do not believe that every other EU nation is able to take in as many Iraqis. Many EU countries are already swamped with immigrants from other nations, which is producing problems. For example, in Germany, immigrants now account for 22 percent of 15-year-olds. The inequalities which these immigrants face are actually reinforced by the education system. Europe has an inability to integrate a growing population of immigrants into their society. It all starts with education, which neglects immigrant and other disadvantaged children. The system in essence traps immigrant children in a system of poverty. Scandanavian schools are an exception, becuase they have programs which focus on alleviating the problems encountered by immigrants in all aspects, including education. Likewise, with a rise in terrorism, many immigrants live in a European society full of prejudice and short of opportunities. Immigration to Europe is more seen as a problem rather than an opportunity. It is awesome that Sweden is able to take in Iraqi refugees because they are able and prepared to do so. However, in other EU countries, taking in Iraqi refuguees would not be a smart move. These countries have to deal with the immigrant problems that they already face; France with North Africans, Germany with Turks, and Great Britain with Afghan immigrants and refugees.

  2. I think this is an extremely important topic that most Americans do not think about on a daily basis, even though we are at war everyday. We tend to view the world with blinders on, only paying attention to “advances” in the “war effort” that are beneficial to our government. However, we rarely pay attention to the many thousands of people who are being displaced due to the U.S. military presence in their homeland, and to the fighting between their own citizens as well. Although our government started the war, I am sure we would never face the repercussions that are associated with this decision and take on the responsibility of placing innocent Iraqis and their families into our country. European countries, most of which had no part in our conflict in Iraq, now bear the brunt of economic and societal issues which housing and caring for refugees brings. And with European tensions toward Muslim immigrants already running high (ie- Great Britain), where are these people going to be accepted and taken in? Sweden has said that it can support so many refugees, but when their borders close to these homeless people, where are they to turn to find safe, peaceful, decent places to live? Maybe it’s time for the U.S. government to take on part of this responsibility.

  3. I too believe this is a topic of highly immerging importance. Unfortunately the notion of refugees does not come to mind for many Americans examining this ongoing war. Many of us tend to bypass the concept and focus on the increasing violence and casualties. However in regards to who should be responsible, although Sweden has done a remarkable job in helping the Iraqi refugees find a safe haven to live in peace and stability, there must be an equal, if not more predominate measures taken by the United States and the international community in support to find a resolution for these refugees immediately.

    Fortunately, recently announced by the State Department, the U.S. is allowing 7000 Iraqi refugee’s admittance into the United States within the year 2008. However the resettlement does not fully address the problem. Therefore I believe more importantly the United States and the international community can best help these displaced Iraqis by quelling the violence in Iraq, and searching for a method to control and curb all the increasing sectarian killings and targeting, by instating a fare and equally representative government.

  4. Great points are made here. I certainly haven’t given much thought to the idea of Iraqi refugees, especially not in regards to their presence in Europe. It seems that some nations are reluctant to accept refugees, and some just don’t have the support infrastructure. There are security issues for any of the countries accepting these refugees, especially states bordering Iraq. This discussion causes me to think more about the importance of accepting refugees. When I think of the tactics that we usually associate with militias and extremist groups, I think that much of their success probably lay in their willingness to exploit the civilian population and environment. For coalition forces in Iraq, I would imaging this is an incredibly difficult thing to stem. But by taking refugees, the U.S. and other countries decrease opportunities for civilian deaths. This may seem fairly insignificant in terms of real numbers (7000 out of how many millions of Iraqi civilians), yet the gesture could prove symbolically very powerful.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: