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Syria Emergency

Syria Conference

31.03.2016 - An international meeting in Geneva on the plight of Syrian refugees concluded on 30 March with new offers of resettlement places and other forms of humanitarian admission places by Member States.

In his closing remarks, High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi spoke of the conference having achieved "a clear recognition of the need for solidarity and responsibility-sharing for refugees". But he also reminded delegates of the wider global displacement context and the immense challenges ahead, including finding a political settlement for Syria, and dealing with ongoing displacement and secondary flows from conflicts elsewhere.

He continued. "The solidarity required is a global one. The collective effort of many states, and many actors within states, is essential."

He said progress was seen on Wednesday in six areas:

  • Member States pledged modest increases in the number of resettlement and humanitarian admission places, bringing the total to date to some 185,000. Several countries offered to significantly increase their global resettlement programmes further this year and in the coming years. In addition, the EU committed to resettle further refugees from Turkey.
  • A number of States affirmed their commitment to family reunification, including willingness to ease procedures.
  • Several Latin American and European countries announced new humanitarian visa programmes or the expansion of existing ones.
  • Thirteen states confirmed scholarships and student visas for Syrian refugees.
  • Speeding of admission processes for refugees through the removal or simplification of administrative barriers was mentioned by several States.
  • Important financial commitments in support of UNHCR's resettlement programmes came from two countries. Several existing resettlement countries offered to share expertise with new resettlement ones.

UNHCR estimates that at least 10% of the 4.8 million refugees in countries neighbouring Syria will need resettling or other humanitarian aid to safely move elsewhere before the end of 2018.

The conference, chaired by UNHCR and attended by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, is one of several key events in 2016 centred on Syria's refugees. It follows February's London Conference on Syria, which focused on the financial dimensions of the humanitarian challenge, and this conference comes in the run up to September's summit on refugees to be held at the General Assembly meeting.


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Photo: UNHCR

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