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Last Updated: Monday, 24 September 2007, 00:32 GMT 01:32 UK
UK 'not meeting Iraq obligations'
An Iraqi woman speaks to a UNHCR worker (April 2007)
Thousands of refugees have fled Iraq for Syria
The UK must do more to meet its "moral obligation" to the thousands of refugees fleeing violence in Iraq, Amnesty International says.

The campaign group says the UK, as one of the leaders of the 2003 invasion, should be helping the estimated 2m who have fled to Syria, Jordan and Europe.

The UK has forcibly returned more people to Iraq than any other European nation, which is staggering, it says.

International support for Iraq has been "seriously insufficient", it adds.

Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen said: "The international community has largely ignored the plight of millions of Iraqis displaced inside and outside Iraq.

"It's staggering that the UK is sending people back to Iraq when it should be helping Syria and Jordan to cope with this refugee crisis."

She added: "As one of the countries involved in the invasion of Iraq, [the UK] has a moral obligation to help those displaced by the bloodshed that has followed."

Iraqis queue at UNHCR centre in Damascus, Syria (photo Andrew North)
The flood of refugees is putting enormous strain on Syria

A report by the campaign group warns that lack of support from the international community meant Syria and Jordan were preparing to tighten their borders, cutting off escape routes for those trying to flee from the violence in Iraq.

It says the "modest steps" taken so far by the international community do not match up to the magnitude of the crisis, with some pledges of assistance still to be honoured.

The UNHCR, the UN'srefugee agency, believes that about 2,000 Iraqis are leaving their homes every day to escape violence, persecution and economic uncertainty.




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