Palestinian Refugees Targeted by Shia Militia


A reminder that the world is complicated and contradictory, and nowhere more so than in the Middle East: Palestinian refugees in Iraq face particularly grave security threats, including targeted killings by mostly Shia militant groups and harassment by the Iraqi government. So says a new Human Rights Watch report.

“Since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s government, Palestinian refugees in Iraq have increasingly become targets of violence and persecution,” said SarahLeah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Shia militant groups have murdered dozens of Palestinian refugees, and the Iraqi government has made it difficult for these refugees to stay legally in Iraq by imposing onerous registration requirements.”

There are about 34,000 Palestinian refugees in Iraq, and they’ve been targeted largely because of the benefits they received from Saddam’s government and their support (real and perceived) for the Sunni insurgency. Since 2003 successive Iraqi governments have either failed to protect them or shown outright hostility. The report calls for Syria and Jordan to open their borders to the refugees, who otherwise have nowhere else to go. (Earlier this year David Enders wrote for MJ.com about the plight of the Palestinian refugees, one of whom told him, “We all just want to leave.”)

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