On 9 October, the European Parliament (EP) adopted a resolution on measures to be taken by the EU and its Member States in response to the increasing numbers of Syrian refugees arriving on EU territory and seeking international protection. Highlighting the dangers involved with irregular entry, including human trafficking, the EP calls on Member States to ensure safe entry into the EU for refugees fleeing the conflict and to respect the principle of non-refoulement. All Syrians who are seeking international protection should be referred to competent national asylum authorities and have access to fair and efficient asylum procedures.
The EP noted that the recent tragedy just off Lampedusa, causing the death of 130 migrants, demonstrates the need for solidarity among Member States, especially with regard to the need to strengthen protection measures through cooperation, information sharing, capacity building and policy dialogue and to stop push backs of boats with migrants on board.
UNHCR has proposed to submit up to 30,000 Syria refugees for resettlement or humanitarian admission by the end of 2014. To date, more than 12 countries have offered a total of some 10,000 resettlement or humanitarian admission. The EP encourages the Member States to address acute needs through resettlement in addition to existing national quotas and through humanitarian admission.
The EP urged the EU to continue its funding for humanitarian and non-humanitarian actions in the region and to monitor the distribution of that funding. The EP also called on the EU to convene a humanitarian conference on the Syrian refugee crisis to support actions taken by the four main host countries, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq, allowing them to maintain an open-door policy.
Compared to almost 2 million registered Syrian refugees in the region, with an estimated further 2 million unregistered, only 52,037 asylum claims have been made by Syrians in the EU, Switzerland and Norway since the outbreak of the Syria conflict in 2011. 59 % of these were lodged in Sweden and Germany.
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This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 18 October 2013
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