Member States of UNHCR’s Executive Committee (Excom) acknowledged this week the profound impact the Syrian crisis is having on refugee-hosting communities in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Egypt. They called on the international community to support refugee populations and the communities hosting them in order to relieve pressure on host communities, and to offer enhanced resettlement, humanitarian admission and family reunification opportunities in third countries. Member States of UNHCR’s Executive Committee also urged development actors to consider initiatives and projects for host communities to ease the economic and social costs of hosting Syrian refugees.

The statement was released following a two-day discussion with members focused on the refugee crisis created by the war in Syria, which preceded the 64th annual Executive Committee (ExCom) meeting which sets UNHCR programmes and budgets for the next year. In the opening address to the 64th annual ExCom, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres noted that aiding the Syrian crisis should not come at the expense of other crises, especially in Africa where funding for UNHCR activities had decreased.

Four million Syrians are displaced within the country, with an additional 2.1 million refugees having already fled, In addition, as the number of refugees hosted by developing countries is up 10% from the previous decade, only 20% of the world’s refugees are being hosted in the developed world. “As I address you today, more people have been forced to flee their homes than at any time since the Rwandan genocide [in 1993]. If refugees and internally displaced persons were a nation, they would make up one of the world’s 30 biggest countries,” Guterres said.

The 64th annual meeting of the Executive Committee took place from 30 September to the 4 October, in Geneva, Switzerland.



This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 4 October 2013
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