uk.news.yahoo.com – 2008-11-29 00:13:12
(November 27, 2008) — European Union nations agreed Thursday to try and accept 10,000 of the most vulnerable refugees from war-torn Iraq, with Germany ready to take a quarter of them.
“The objective could be to take in up to around 10,000 refugees,” many of them living in precarious conditions in neighbouring Syria and Jordan, EU interior ministers said in conclusions from a meeting in Brussels.
They would include “refugees in a particularly vulnerable situation such as those with particular medical needs, trauma or torture victims, members of religious minorities or women on their own with family responsibilities.”
“This has to be done on a voluntary basis and in light of the reception capacities of member states,” the ministers said.
Six EU countries, mainly Sweden and the Netherlands but not Germany, currently accept Iraqi refugees. German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schauble said Berlin was ready to accept 2,500 refugees.
Germany has focused mainly on refugees from Iraq’s Christian minority.
In 2007, 18,559 Iraqis requested asylum in Sweden. In total some 100,000 Iraqis currently live in the Scandinavian country, making it the second-biggest foreign community behind Finns.
The United States, still embroiled in conflict almost six years after it launched the war, said Tuesday that it expects to meet the “tall order” of admitting a total of 12,000 Iraqi refugees by the end of this fiscal year.
In the last fiscal year, just 3,040 were admitted.
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