The United Nations IRIN news agency reported that a U.N. survey found very few Iraqi refugees want to return home. The survey was conducted in March 2008 of 994 Iraqi refugees. It found that only 4% of respondents wanted to return to Iraq. This was a large decrease from the last U.N. survey from November 2007 that found 14% wanted to go back. Both surveys found that the main reason why Iraqis were going back to Iraq was because of a lack of money and visa problems in the countries they were staying in. Various groups have consistently reported this for at least a year now. The surveys appear to be proved by the fact that in March 2008 the government said that 13,030 families had returned, but only 17% were refugees, the other 83% were internally displaced. The major reason why Iraq’s refugees are reluctant to return are concerns over security. Many areas of central Iraq have been ethnically cleansed, a single armed sect now holds sway over them, homes have been destroyed, and others have been occupied by squatters or taken over by militias who rent them out for money. While attacks are drastically down, several hundred Iraqis are still killed each month. As reported earlier, there have also been cases of refugees being threatened and attacked when they attempted to go back to their homes. These factors will continue to deter the majority of Iraq’s refugees from returning home anytime soon.
International Crisis Group, “Failed Responsibility: Iraqi Refugees In Syria, Jordan and Lebanon,” 7/10/08
IRIN, “Most Iraqi refugees refuse to head home,” 8/8/08
Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, “Quarterly and Semiannual Report to the United States Congress,” 7/30/08