Kurdish Aspect covers issues related to Kurds and Kurdistan within the larger context of Middle Eastern concerns. The website offers readers a treasure of information as a useful guide to know how others view the Kurds. Kurdish aspect is proud that a significant number of contributors who have a deep understanding and experience in Kurdish history, culture and politics constantly write for the website. Kurdish Aspect also publishes the quarterly Kurdish Aspect Magazine."> Kurdish refugees still suffering after 20 years

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November 12, 2011

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Kurdish refugees still suffering after 20 years

Kurdishaspect.com - By Raber Y. Aziz

Erbil - Kurdish refugees in Australia and New Zealand suffer from psychological distress up to two decades after resettlement, an Australian study has found.

The longitudinal study conducted on 51 Kurdish and 30 Afghan refugees who arrived in Australia and New Zealand between 1988 and 2008 found that while psychological distress levels reduce over time. However the refugees' past experiences continue to impact on their well being.

Having too much time for introspection, thinking too much about past experiences and current reminders of traumatic events, and separation from family, home and past lifestyle are the two most significant sources of stress in this study.

Only five people in the study's sample were working as a professional despite the fact that many of the refugees had worked as health professionals, engineers, scientists, academics or teachers in their home country. The authors said this suggests there is a problem with social inclusiveness of both Australia and New Zealand in welcoming new arrivals from a troubled region.

Most of the Kurdish refugees had spent between one and four years as a refugee prior to resettlement. Risk of psychological distress among the female refugees is much higher according to the study. they are more at risk of social isolation and are more visibly different "as female refugees from a visible religious minority".

Despite being happy that the two countries have provided the Kurdish refugees with a safe and secure environment, welcoming communities, education the majority felt distressed about the lack of extended family and the lack of neighborliness. Cultural and religious concerns, as well as discrimination especially for Muslims after 9/11 were seen as a particular challenges.

As a result of the distress and poor mental health the refugees have hit a wall. They feel their lives lack a sense of purpose or direction. They continue to be demoralized by the challenges of trying to get ahead and succeed given inherent systematic constraints facing them, such as lack of recognition of overseas qualifications and discrimination.

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