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By Abby Brownback January 17, 2011

Iraq refugee aid more unilateral than international

When we last rated President Obama"s promise to "form an international working group to address" the problem of almost 5 million displaced Iraqi refugees, progress had stalled. A year later, there still has been no action on the promise, according to extensive searches of the White House website, Google and LexisNexis, and a senior advocate for Refugees International.

"I am not aware of such a group," Elizabeth Campbell, who leads the work in Iraq by Refugees International, wrote in an e-mail. "I do not think one has been formed. The USG (U.S. government) continues to try to get other countries to contribute to funding Iraqi displacement  -- with little success. The USG remains by the far the largest donor to Iraqi displacement issues."

A May 2010 press release from the White House says, "The United States led efforts to encourage return to Iraq and reintegration of Iraqis, provide assistance to Iraqi refugees in the region, and resettle vulnerable Iraqis in the United States… we elevated the issue by announcing a White House coordinator for Iraqi refugees and displaced persons."

A September 2010 fact-sheet posted on the White House website notes that "the U.S. continues to provide the majority of support to address the needs of Iraqi refugees and internally displaced persons." Both of these statements indicate that the United States is leading the work on behalf of Iraqi refugees -- without the aid of any international working group.

The White House, when asked if any progress had been made, provided no evidence that such an international group is in the works. If the administration begins efforts to fulfill this promise, we will re-examine the rating.

At this time, though, with two years of no discernible developments, we rate this promise as Broken.

Our Sources

E-mail interview with Elizabeth Campbell, senior advocate with Refugees International

Interview with Tim Skoczek, deputy director of response in the White House Office of Media Affairs

Extensive searches of the White House website, Google and LexisNexis

By Kevin Robillard January 14, 2010

No evidence of forming group to help Iraqi refugees

Ethnic violence in the aftermath of the U.S. invasion of Iraq forced more than 5 million Iraqis to flee their homes, either to neighboring countries like Syria and Jordan, or to safer areas within Iraq. As a candidate, Barack Obama said he would "form an international working group to address" the problem.

We looked and looked, but found no evidence of a working group anywhere in the public record. So we checked with the experts.

"We are not aware of an international working group on Iraq, though the U.S. continues to push its European allies and Iraq"s regional allies to step up their funding" for refugees, Vanessa Parra, a spokeswoman for Refugees International, wrote in an e-mail.

With no discernible progress, we rate this promise as Stalled.

Our Sources

 E-mail interview with Vannesa Parra, spokeswoman for Refugees International

Extensive searches of Google and LexisNexis

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