UNHCR Briefing Notes

Geneva, 01.10.2013

Geneva crisis meeting agrees to expand international support for

countries hosting Syrian refugees

 

A high-level meeting in Geneva on the humanitarian crisis spawned by

Syria’s two-and-a-half year old conflict ended today with agreement on

urgent international action to mitigate the economic and social impact

on neighbouring countries struggling under the weight of more than two

million Syrian refugees.

 

In a joint statement, member states of UNHCR’s Executive Committee

said they were alarmed at the situation inside Syria which is driving so

many Syrians to flee. They acknowledged the profound impact this was

having on refugee-hosting communities, economies, societies, services,

infrastructure, environment and security in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon,

Turkey, and Egypt. They commended their exemplary generosity and

hospitality and their significant investment in hosting Syrian

refugees.

 

They acknowledged international aid to these countries has been vastly

insufficient in comparison with the needs, and called for massive

support to enable them to continue hosting so many refugees, namely:

 

-          Direct aid to governments;

 

-          Financial and in-kind help to refugee populations and the

communities hosting them;

 

-          Assistance for economies, societies, services,

infrastructure, environment and security;

 

-          Enhanced resettlement, humanitarian admissions and family

reunification possibilities for Syrian refugees in third countries;

 

-          Development initiatives and projects to help host

communities to ease the economic and social costs of hosting Syrian

refugees.

 

The High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, welcomed pledges

by a number of countries for resettlement or humanitarian admission of

over 10,000 highly vulnerable Syrian refugees. The High Commissioner

called on all countries, particularly in Europe and in the extended

Middle East to allow access to asylum and to introduce more generous

resettlement schemes. He also hailed expanded initiatives by

international development actors and financial institutions to bolster

over-stretched public services and fragile infrastructures benefiting

both host communities and refugees.

 

The Geneva meeting was attended by government representatives from some

135 states, 2 observer entities, 7 intergovernmental organizations, 3

other entities, the World Bank, 9 United Nations organizations (FAO,

UNICEF, UNDP, UNESCO, UNITAR, UNFPA. OCHA, UNRWA and WFP), 29

Non-Governmental Organizations as well as UNHCR’s Eminent Advocate

Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi of Sharjah (UAE) and 10 other

guests and representatives.

 

Among those present from the region surrounding Syria were the foreign

ministers of Iraq, Minister of External Relations of the Kurdistan

region of Iraq, Jordan, Turkey, the Social Affairs Minister of Lebanon,

and the Assistant Foreign Minister of Egypt.

 

Syria’s conflict, which began in March 2011, has produced one of the

most dramatic and rapid forced displacement situations in decades. Today

an estimated 4.25 million people are internally displaced in Syria,

while as of this past weekend 2,123,971 people had either registered as

refugees or were pending registration in the surrounding region.

Currently, the UN’s Regional Response Plan for 2013, which aims at

addressing the humanitarian needs in the refugee hosting countries, is

47 per cent funded.

 

The full statement of the High-Level Segment of the Executive Committee

of the High Commissioner’s Programme on Solidarity and Burden-Sharing

with countries hosting Syrian Refugees can be found here

[www.unhcr.org/524a87659.html].

END

Gisèle Nyembwe

Public Information Associate

Collaboratrice adjointe chargée de l’information

UNHCR Canada

Tel: (613) 232-0909 ext. 225

Mobile: (613) 986-4300

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