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Survey: 8 Million Refugees 'Warehoused'

A child refugee in Afghanistan (file photo) 16 June 2005 -- A refugee rights group says some 8 million refugees and asylum seekers around the world are "warehoused" in camps or settlements where they are deprived of the right to work and move freely.

The annual survey by the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants says "warehoused" refugees live in barricaded camps in poor countries, which host most of the world's displaced populations.

Merrill Smith, of the Washington-based group, told a press conference late on 15 June at the United Nations that between 1993 and 2003, the average length of a refugee situation rose from nine years to 17 years.

The survey says that among the largest groups of refugees deprived of basic rights in situations lasting five years or more are the 1.9 million Afghans in Iran and Pakistan, and the 1.6 million Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, and Lebanon.