U.S. Priorities Invite Skepticism

Monday, July 9, 2007

In her July 5 letter, "Two Refugee Flows That Aren't Alike," Assistant Secretary of State Ellen R. Sauerbrey said that Iraqi refugees are arriving in the United States and that "their numbers will increase sharply in the months ahead." The United States admitted one Iraqi refugee in each of the months of April and May. In June, it admitted 63. That does indeed constitute a sharp increase, but one of little consequence to 2 million Iraqi refugees and another 2 million displaced inside Iraq.

Ms. Sauerbrey also said that the United States has funded 30 percent of the appeal for $60 million by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. Not quite true. Of the $18 million Washington promised, the UNHCR has received only $12 million so far. Meanwhile, The Post reported that the United States is shelling out $592 million to build its embassy in Baghdad ["Construction Woes Add to Fear at Embassy," front page, July 5].

Ms. Sauerbrey said that we are "welcoming the persecuted and standing by our friends." Standing by seems to be the only thing the United States is doing as Iraqis continue to be forcibly displaced.

BILL FRELICK

Refugee Policy Director

Human Rights Watch

Washington


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