The situation of refugees escaping from Syria: the alarm raised by non-governmental organizations
Only 1.39% of about five million Syrian refugees who fled to neighboring countries have been resettled in rich countries. The majority of people are in states bordering Syria as Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. This is what says the Oxfam study, spread on the eve of a meeting of High Level on sharing global responsibility for Syrian refugees. This meeting will be in Geneva at the presence of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the UN High Commissioner for refugees (UNHCR), Filippo Grandi.
Oxfam reports that the domestic war on Syria, which began with the first clashes March 15, 2011 to then flow into a full-blown civil war, has caused to date about 3.7 million refugees and over 220,000 victims with a population directly affected by the conflict and need of assistance of about 12 million people. Since 2013, the hopes of the Syrian life was reduced by 13 years, and there are over 1.8 million of refugee children.
The British NGO, also exerts lobbying activity on the international community and governments to ensure the promised funding and are committed to achieving peace. The Oxfam study, in fact, urges countries expected the conference to commit to accommodate globally at least 10% of Syrian refugees by the end of 2016, through resettlement schemes or other forms of humanitarian admission. The percentage corresponds to the refugees identified as vulnerable by the High Commission of the United Nations for Refugees (UNHCR) and is equivalent to 481,220 people.
According to the British non-governmental organization, only three countries – Canada, Germany, Norway – did the resettlement promises more than their ‘fair share’ calculated according to the size of their economy, and five other countries (Australia, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand) have taken on higher commitments. The other 20 countries included in the analysis are encouraged to do more. For example – Oxfam says – France is committed to a market share of 4% of its fair share. For Italy, the figure is 7%. Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International, while the Syrian conflict enters its sixth year, more than 4.8 million Syrians have fled to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and the region, but these countries “can no longer assume this responsibility virtually alone. ”
The Geneva meeting will be held on March 30 and is one of a series of events of 2016 on the crisis of migration, to prepare for the September UN meeting convened by Ban Ki-moon on the eve of the next General Assembly. Representatives will participate in the Geneva conference of 92 countries, 10 intergovernmental organizations, 9 UN agencies and 24 NGOs.
The goal is to get to the impending meeting urgent solutions, offering people safe and legal paths to be received in third countries. Italy, at the forefront for bailouts in the Channel of Sicily, has offered in recent weeks because of “humanitarian corridors” for a group of particularly vulnerable refugees.
“The refugees fleeing conflict and violence and come to Europe carry an important message: face their drama is not only the problem of the countries and of the closest communities to those wars. It is a global responsibility that must be shared until they prevail again peace, “said Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, who asked to” not miss an important gesture of solidarity, giving at least some Syrian refugees a chance to live a better life and while lifting a weight of the countries that are home to millions. ”
Oxfam, along with six other humanitarian agencies, it was recently a sponsor for an appeal, launched to the international community, to address the most severe humanitarian crisis since the end of World War II. And ‘priority to be defined with the utmost urgency a long-term plan, which ensures more investment and aid in neighboring countries to Syria, collapsing, allowing Syrian refugees to work and to live legally.
The majority of refugees in neighboring countries to Syria are forced to live in a state on the border between legality and illegality: without a job and regular papers, due to the restrictions imposed by host countries, they live with the constant fear to be arrested, detained and deported. In this context, while humanitarian aid continues to decrease, a growing number of refugees is likely to fall every day into a spiral of debt and poverty.
Lebanon is already home to more than a million refugees, 30% of the population of the country, including about 500 thousand children of school age. In this context, since last January, Lebanon has effectively closed its borders. At the time, to obtain the necessary documents to reside legally in the country, refugees are required to sign a commitment not to work or find a Lebanese citizen who sponsor them. Hundreds of thousands of refugees so are having to choose between a legal life of unemployment and significant poverty and made an illegal clandestine work.
In Jordan, more than 83% of Syrian refugees, about 630 thousand lives outside the camps. About 48% of the refugees are not officially registered with enormous difficulties of access to services and humanitarian assistance and to record births, deaths or marriages. The 99% of refugees who cannot find employment is therefore forced to work illegally, often with very low salaries.
In Turkey, which is home to about 2 million Syrian refugees, some cities have seen double their population. Here, refugees gain access to essential services in the places where they arrive, but, except for family reunification or for medical reasons, are often unable to move to urban areas where there are more jobs. In the country, about 600 thousand Syrian refugees have not yet registered and have not officially access to public services. Not being able to work legally, most of them fall into the informal network, often under exploitative conditions.
In Iraq’s Kurdish region, the refugees living in official camps can obtain residence permits that allow them to work and access to essential services: are still many difficulties for refugees forced to live outside the camps. In contrast, in the rest of Iraq, welcomed the refugees in the camps cannot work.
In Egypt there are about 130,000 Syrian refugees registered, although the Government esteem that they are more than twice in the whole country. Of these, only a small fraction was able to obtain a work permit, due to the long and expensive procedure for seeking and quotas that limit the number of non-Egyptian employees.
“A more than four years since the outbreak of the conflict, – said Winnie Byanyima, General Director of Oxfam International – many Syrian refugees are still forced to live at a subsistence level, relying almost entirely on humanitarian aid and often not knowing how and by where will the next meal. ”
A condition with no way out, which reduces any possibility of returning to a normal life. “It ‘a paradox, most of the refugees that we encounter every
day want to work but cannot do it and finds himself in the position of not having the means to pay rent and keep their families with dignity. – Adds Riccardo Sansone, responsible for humanitarian emergencies
Oxfam Italy – we need to create new jobs for thousands of thousands of people who now live on charity and welfare in host countries: a real new deal which also benefit the millions of Jordanians, Lebanese citizens, Turks and Iraqis, as refugees are facing the crisis “.
In Lebanon and Jordan, hundreds of thousands of refugees without work and services.
About 70% of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon has no documents to reside legally in the country and then to work. A similar condition also affects 630,000 refugees in Jordan, forced to live outside the official camps, and then with great difficulty of access to education and health services. In addition, ‘therefore a priority those international donors put in a position neighboring countries to Syria to introduce measures enabling refugees to work legally, without running the risk of being arrested. “Their living conditions get worse by the day, – he added the secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, Jan Egeland – many now choose to return to the war zones from which they had fled or risk their lives to reach Europe”.
A situation that is compromising inevitably also the future of hundreds of thousands of young Syrians. “Continuing like this, we risk losing an entire generation of young Syrians, the same generation that will have to rebuild the country when the conflict will be ended. – Says Misty Buswell, Regional Advocacy Director of Save the Children – With parents who cannot work and bring home a paycheck, more and more children end up look for a job. Hundreds of thousands of children are losing years of school because the education systems of neighboring countries are literally collapsing. ”
According to the sponsoring organizations of the appeal, however, even with the right in support of the countries of investment and intervention, it remains a share of the most vulnerable refugees, at least 10%, which must be resettled outside of the border region with Syria. The rich countries at the time, however, they granted hospitality to less than 3% of refugees, with too long waiting times.
The signatories of the appeal are Oxfam, CARE, Danish Refugee Council, International Rescue Committee, Norwegian Refugee Council, Save the Children, and World Vision International.