According to a press release put out yesterday, the State Department has established the Iraq Refugee and Internally Displaced Persons Task Force. Its purpose is to coordinate refugee and IDP assistance to the region and refugees resettlement. It will also "devise strategies for Iraqis at risk because of their work with the U.S. Government." This comes on the heels of a recent Senate hearing on the refugee crisis during which two Iraqis employed by the coalition testified to how difficult it is to gain entry into the United States despite having risked their lives for the coalition effort.
According to the United Nations, about two million Iraqis, some eight per cent of the pre-war population, have fled the country to escape the war and mounting sectarian violence. Of those, only 466 have been allowed entry into the United States. The task force will be headed by Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky.
Though this is certainly a welcome sign, the creation of this task force still cannot make up for the fact that President Bush has not said a word about the displacement crisis. We can only hope that this task force is not merely a token gesture and actually does something about the growing displacement crisis in Iraq.