EU to accommodate 10,000 Iraqi refugees

By Xinhua,

Brussels : The European Union (EU) would eventually accommodate as many as 10,000 Iraqi refugees to meet the resettlement target set out by the UN, officials said.

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At a two-day EU meeting that opened here Thursday, the law ministers of the group welcomed the fact that some member states have already started receiving Iraqi refugees. They also encouraged other countries to follow suit.

People needing medical help, women, trauma and torture victims as well as members of religious minority groups would be benefited from this action, they said.

“This has to be done on a voluntary basis and in the light of the reception capacities of member states,” a joint statement issued by the ministers said.

The EU plans to use the European Refugee Fund to provide financial aid for the resettlement projects. Member states have been asked to inform about their plans by Dec 19, 2008, so that it would help estimate allocation of funds for 2009.

The resettlement projects would help the displaced Iraqis to return to their homes safely, while also ensuring protection of their human rights, the ministers stressed.

Return to Iraq is thought to be the only eventual solution for the great majority of Iraqi refugees, they said.