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News – Iraq wants refugees back

October 2008

Iraq wants refugees back


Iraqi security forces in Baghdad are evicting squatters from houses abandoned by people who fled sectarian violence following the US-led invasion in 2003. The government is trying to re-establish mixed neighbourhoods and entice refugees, among them almost 400,000 from the Christian community, to return home.

     More than two million people are thought to be displaced inside Iraq, mostly from Baghdad; a further two million have fled abroad. Squatters who fail to vacate the houses could face up to three years in prison.

     A limited number of refugees have already attempted to return home, mainly from Syria, which has absorbed about 1.5 million Iraqis.