Conflict & Justice

Iceland home to resettled Palestinians

This woman plays with her three young children in Iceland. But this life in Iceland can't be farther from their reality for the two years before that. They lived in a tent at a makeshift refugee camp in the desert on the Iraq-Syria border. After the U.S. invasion, thousands of Palestinian refugees lost the protection they had under Saddam Hussein and were caught up in Iraq's fierce civil war. this family was forced to move into the refugee camp, and her husband was eventually tortured and killed. Earlier this month, the woman and her children arrived in Iceland. She was one of 8 women who were selected by the UNHCR to resettle here. she said her expectations have been exceeded here. the Palestinian women have been partnered up with support families to help them transition to life in Iceland. This Icelandic woman says this is a cultural exchange that is benefiting everyone. The refugees have all been given furnished homes and receive financial and psychological support. The children have already started school and the women will soon begin language and cultural immersion classes. In a year the women are expected to find work. Not everyone is so optimistic about the new refugees in Iceland. This activist is concerned about the integration and is not convinced they can be completely integrated into society in one year. The idea of getting a job is a long way off for the Iraqi woman from earlier. First and foremost is adjusting to Iceland's weather and society. The Red Cross feels confident the Iraqi families will be able to resettle quickly, and they're optimistic other countries will soon adopt a similar approach.

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