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Iraq: Asylum

Volume 474: debated on Monday 31 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what financial or other assistance his Department provides to Iraqi refugees in (a) Jordan and (b) Syria. (196086)

Since 2003, the Department for International Development (DFID) has allocated £7.75 million to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), which leads the international response to the Iraqi refugee situation. Of this, £3 million has been committed for 2008. DFID has not earmarked contributions to UNHCR for specific countries, but has supported UNHCR's annual Iraq situation appeals. These appeals focus primarily on Jordan, Syria and Iraq, but also cover operations in Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Our support helps UNHCR provide assistance to Iraqi refugees (including food, cash assistance, legal aid and school materials) and support to health and education systems in countries that have taken in large numbers of people displaced from Iraq. DFID's contributions to UNHCR form part of our overall humanitarian assistance allocation for Iraq, totalling £147 million since 2003.

The UK, as a major contributor to the European Commission (EC), has also supported the EC's programmes in Jordan and Syria. Last year, the EC allocated €50 million in support of Iraqi refugees in the middle east region. This included an additional €9 million to their ongoing health sector modernisation project in Syria. This money will strengthen health services in areas with large Iraqi populations. In Jordan, the EC has allocated €26.7 million in budget support, which will build capacity in the Jordanian education sector to accommodate Iraqi refugee children.