Syrian Refugees Abandoned By World Community, Amnesty International Reports

In a report by Amnesty International on Friday, the international community has been inculpated for abandoning Syrian refugees seeking to flee from the horrific realities they are faced with in their homeland.

Amnesty, a humanitarian group seeking to protect and give a voice to those who are persecuted unjustly, titled Friday’s report “Out in the Cold.”

The situation in Syria is dire. Ten million people have been forced from their homes, and more than 191,369 people have been killed since the three-year conflict began between President Bashar al-Assad and opposition fighters. The conflict has been intensified by extremist Islamic groups aggressively and violently attempting to force conformity on individuals in Syria and northern Iraq.

The majority of refugees forced from their country have found settlement in one of five countries, including Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, and Iraq. As Newsweek indicates, Lebanon has taken in the majority of Syrian refugees, increasing their population by 1.15 million people, thus resulting in one out of every five residents being a Syrian refugee.

Millions of Syrian refugees are living on Lebanese soil. Image courtesy of the New York Times

Within the report, Newsweek notes that Amnesty states, “One of the most urgent issues is resettlement of refugees from the five main host countries [Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq], but internationally the number of resettlement places on offer is shamefully low.”

Newsweek quotes the disgraceful statistics provided by Amnesty in regards to global settlement assistance.

“Amnesty International says the countries that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council; Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates; have pledged zero resettlement places, with China and Russia similarly offering zero places. The United States has resettled 191 Syrian refugees since 2011, according to the State Department. With the exception of Germany, which pledged 30,000 places under a humanitarian assistance program, the 27 remaining countries in the European Union have pledged 6,305 resettlement places, which the human rights organization estimates will house less than 0.2 percent of the number of refugees living in the five main host countries.”

The report and plea from Amnesty International came soon after the United Nations’ World Food Program was forced to cut off all supplies to 1.8 million Syrian refugees due to lack of funding from the international community. This program has aided more than 1.7 million Syrian refugees, and began a 72-hour fundraising campaign which launched on December 3. Although the campaign raised $21.5 million for Syrian refugees, support is needed on a greater scale to sustain more than 4 million people.

Amnesty warns that if the world community does not become more involved in providing and offering assistance to the refugees of Syria, “catastrophic consequences” are imminent.

The report by Amnesty comes prior to the United Nations donor conference, which is scheduled to be held in Geneva on Tuesday.

Amnesty International’s head of refugee and migrants’ rights, Sherif Elsayed-Ali, is prepared to utilize the conference to “turn the tide around” in Syria, as International Business Times recounts, “Countries cannot ease their consciences with cash pay-outs then simply wash their hands of the matter… It is time for world governments to take the courageous steps needed to share the responsibility for this crisis and help avert further suffering.”

With no end to the ongoing Syrian conflict in sight, settlement plans for those who have been forced out must be formalized. This feat is impossible if the international community does not do its part.

[Feature image courtesy of ABC]