SHAFAQNA – The United Nations has described as “shocking” the ongoing crisis of displaced Iraqi people and Syrian refugees, stressing that the international community is failing the litmus test of handling the conflict in the two Arab countries.
“Since I was last here in Iraq, another 2 million people have been forced from their homes, mostly in the last six months – this time Iraqi citizens,” the special envoy of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Angelina Jolie, said at the Khanke Camp for Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in Iraq’s Dohuk Province after visiting Syrian refugees and displaced Iraqi citizens in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq on January 25.
“The spillover from the Syria conflict has been devastating,” she stressed, adding, “The brutality of the conflict and speed and scale of the displacement has shocked the world. Help has come, but not nearly enough.”
The special envoy of the UN refugee agency further described as “horrific” the brutalities committed by the ISILI Takfiri group.
“Nothing can prepare you for the horrific stories of these survivors of kidnap, abuse and exploitation and to see how they cannot all get the urgent help they need and deserve,” Jolie said, sympathizing, “Children whose parents were murdered and are now here unaccompanied – a 19 year old working and being the sole provider for his 7 siblings. I have met mothers whose children have been kidnapped by ISIL. As a parent, I couldn’t imagine a greater horror. They are overwhelmed by thoughts of what is happening to their children.”
She further called on the international community to intensify its efforts to provide the necessary items for the Iraqi and Syrian people, adding that the UNHCR is in dire need of funds.
“The international community has to step up and do more,” she said.
Jolie also stressed that the international community is flunking the test on humanitarian efforts and fight against terrorism in Iraq and Syria.
“It is not enough to defend our values at home. We have to defend them here, in the camps and in the informal settlements across the Middle East, and in the ruined towns of Iraq and Syria. We are being tested here, as an international community, and so far – for all the immense efforts and good intentions – we are failing,” she warned.
The UN refugee chief, Antonio Guterres, warned on January 6 that the world is losing its ability to prevent conflicts around the world, saying the lack of “effective leadership” has resulted in the worst displacement situation in over 70 years.
Guterres also said the “mega-crises” in Iraq and Syria as well as the crises in Libya, Ukraine, and South Sudan, showed the world does not have the capability to avert and resolve conflicts.
The UN refugee agency said on November 11, 2014, that the conflicts in Syria and Iraq have roughly displaced 13.6 million people, bemoaning poor humanitarian assistance on the part of some countries.
Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since 2011. The UN says that more than 200,000 people have died in the Syrian conflict since March 2011.
ISIL started its campaign of terror in Iraq in early June 2014. The heavily-armed militants took control of Mosul before sweeping through parts of the country’s Sunni Arab heartland.
The two Arab countries have also had large swathes of their territories seized by ISIL Takfiri militants, who have terrorized and killed people of all communities, including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, and Christians.