Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Refugee Crisis and Iraq's Academics

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs just put out a brief report on the exodus of academics from Iraq.
"According to the Ministry of Higher Education, at least 280 academics have been killed since the US-led invasion in 2003 by insurgents and militias...The targeting of such academics is generating a mess in our country. The health and educational systems are depleted of good professionals. Nearly one third of those living in Iraq before 2003 have fled violence," said Dr. Mustafa Jaboury, a research investigator at the Ministry of Higher Education.

"Shi'ite militias and Sunni insurgents are killing intellectuals to ensure Iraq is poorly managed and poorly governed," Jaboury added...Experts have raised concerns saying that if professionals continue fleeing Iraq on a daily basis the country will be depleted of academics and the level of education in Iraq will drop drastically.

"By removing those groups [of people such as intellectuals], the insurgents are aiming to eliminate all support for a democratic society. And militias hope that by targeting academics Iraq will become theocratic like Iran," said Paul Colley, a London-based independent analyst.
For more on the refugee crisis, be sure to read EPIC's interview with Sean Garcia of Refugees International.

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