World Vision Canada

World Vision Canada

April 03, 2007 00:05 ET

World Vision Says Iraqi Refugee Children Need Special Assistance

MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - April 3, 2007) -

Attention: Foreign Editor

As violence in Iraq continues to feed the largest refugee crisis in the Middle East in half a century, World Vision has launched a combined advocacy and relief effort to assist children and families fleeing to neighboring countries. An estimated 50,000 refugees each month join the two million Iraqis who have already left their volatile homeland since 2003. Many are struggling to cope without access to health care, legal income, or education for their children in host countries including Jordan and Syria.

"The plight of Iraqi refugee children is still largely a hidden crisis, but we want to help change that," says Emmanuel Isch, vice-president of International and Canadian programming for World Vision Canada. "World Vision is calling on the international community to ensure adequate shelter, health, education and other critical services for these children, whose families are increasingly struggling to meet basic needs."

World Vision will present detailed recommendations at the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) conference in Geneva on April 17-18, including the following:

- Donor governments, including Canada, must provide adequate funding to enable the UN and non-governmental organizations, like World Vision, to provide the health care, education, food, household items, and social programs needed by Iraqi children and other vulnerable refugees.

- Host countries must ensure basic protections, religious freedoms and human rights for Iraqi refugees in their midst.

- The international community must ensure that borders in the region are kept open to Iraqi families fleeing life-threatening violence, and ensure that religious minorities and other vulnerable groups are not forced to return.

- Canada and other refugee-receiving countries should work with the UNHCR to identify and agree on the number of refugees who will be resettled in the coming year.

"We're talking about children who have witnessed violence and death repeatedly in their home country," says Brian Jonson, a Canadian World Vision aid worker in Amman, Jordan. "Now, without education, basic protections or legal employment for their parents, these vulnerable children are facing a future of poverty and disenfranchisement in the region."

Through local partners, World Vision is assisting 10,000 refugees in Jordan with food, basic household items, health care and special programs for children who cannot attend school. World Vision is also training Jordanian aid organizations in child protection and program management. The agency has served vulnerable and impoverished families in the Middle East for three decades.

World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. Motivated by our Christian faith, we serve all people regardless of religion, race, gender or ethnicity.

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Contact Information

  • For more information, or to arrange an interview with
    Mr. Isch or a Canadian aid worker in Jordan, contact:
    Sharon Marshall, Public Relations
    (905) 565-6200 ext. 2213
    (416) 677-4354 (FAX)