The European Union and its Member States have been invited to gather on 9 December 2014 with their international counterparts for a ministerial-level conference to discuss how many refugees currently struggling in Syria’s neighbouring countries European states will take in through resettlement programmes and other forms of admission.

A coalition of NGOs – Amnesty International, the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME), the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC), International Rescue Committee, Jesuit Refugee Service Europe and the Norwegian Refugee Council – have written to the EU institutions to urge Member States to make meaningful pledges at this conference to resettle and admit more refugees who have fled Syria.

“The countries neighbouring Syria have received more than 3 million people fleeing the war and their capacity to continue to host so many refugees is being stretched. The EU and its Member States must seize the opportunity that the pledging conference offers to express greater international solidarity and significantly increase their role in providing protection for refugees, in particular for the most vulnerable among them. Germany has set the bar for other EU States in offering durable solutions for the people who have survived the Syrian war. Offering resettlement and other forms of admission to refugees can mean the difference between life and death. The EU needs to be part of the solution for Syria’s refugees”, said the coalition of NGOs.

Syria’s neighbouring countries host over 3 million refugees. Lebanon alone, a country of 4 million people, is hosting well over one million refugees from Syria. In almost four years of the conflict in Syria, EU Member States have committed over 33,000 places for resettling or admitting refugees from Syria. Germany alone has pledged to take in 28,500 people, with twelve other Member States together contributing under 5,000 places. There are still many Member States that have not yet responded to the call to help refugees who have fled Syria.