4 April 2014

Tobias Billström, Swedish Minister Migration and Asylum policy has called for solidarity with the refugees in the neighbourhood of Syria by the EU taking shared responsibility by resettling refugees. “If all EU Member States were to resettle as many refugees per capita as Sweden does annually, the EU could offer 100,000 openings to those people who are the most vulnerable ones and are the ones most in need”, affirms the Minister. The EU, Switzerland and Norway have currently pledged 14,600 resettlement or humanitarian admission places, just 0.6% of the 2.5 million refugees currently hosted in the neighbouring countries of Lebanon, Jordan, Libya, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt.

A further grim milestone was reached in the Syria refugee crisis this week, which is frequently referred to as the worst humanitarian crisis in recent history, with 1 million refugees from Syria now registered in Lebanon. UNHCR stresses that the impact on Lebanon, which has become the country with the highest per capita concentration of refugees worldwide, has been immense, with resources being rapidly depleted and a host community stretched to breaking point. Public services are struggling to meet increased demand, with health, education, electricity, and water and sanitation particularly taxed. At the same time, the country has experienced serious economic shocks due to the conflict in Syria, including a decline in trade, tourism and investment and an increase in public expenditures. UNHCR further notes that there are no refugee camps in Lebanon. Most rent apartments and others live in makeshift shelters and in garages, factories and prisons.

Over 100 NGOs are calling European leaders to provide greater access to Europe for Syria’s refugees by significantly increasing resettlement places, among other measures. Sign the petition and give your voice to Syria’s refugees via www.helpsyriasrefugees.eu.

Read Europe Act Now Recommendations here.

This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 4 April 2014
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