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60% of Iraqi refugees 'regret' returning home

world Updated: Oct 20, 2010 13:28 IST

PTI
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A UN survey showed that 61 per cent of former Iraqi refugees who have returned home regret their decision in the face of insecurity and poor administration.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, whose survey covered 2,353 Iraqis returning to Baghdad from overseas in 2007 and 2008, said in a statement yesterday that "physical insecurity, economic hardship and lack of basic public services has led the majority to regret their decision to return to Iraq."

The survey, which was conducted between April and September, also showed that 34 per cent of the respondents were considering seeking asylum once again "if conditions did not improve."

Many of the respondents said they had returned to Iraq because they could no longer afford living in the asylum state.

The results echo a similar survey held between July and August at a border crossing between Syria and Iraq, which showed that "most" of the 2,000 Iraqis polled were reluctant to go home on a permanent basis.

Syria hosts the largest number of Iraqi refugees in the region, with some 150,000 refugees registered with the UNHCR at the end of August, it said, adding that registrations rates have been increasing since May.

According to the Iraqi government, more than 18,000 refugees have returned home from the start of this year to August.