The fate of people fleeing the conflict in Syria is the subject in this edition of Utalk.
The question comes from John in Dublin: “Over 3 million Syrians have already fled to neighbouring countries because of the civil war and ISIL violence. What happens to them once they’ve crossed Syria’s border?”
The response is from Ariane Rummery, spokesperson for the UNCHR, the UN refugee agency:
“People who are fleeing Syria essentially have been or are being registered in the neighbouring countries as people in need of international protection. In most cases they get a card or some kind of certificate and this gives them access to humanitarian assistance.
“In terms of what formal status they have, this can vary from country to country. In Turkey for example, the refugees have temporary protection from the Turkish government.
“In Iraq, UNHCR is registering the Syrians and we give them an asylum-seeker certificate and this gives them freedom of movement, it gives them access to assistance – access to legal assistance, and material assistance – as well as the right to stay and to work.
“And in the Kurdistan region of Irak, the authorities there also give people residence permit. In Jordan and Egypt, the Syrians who approach UNHCR offers are essentially registered as asylum-seekers and they get access to a full protection assistance services.
“In Lebanon, UNHCR is registering the Syrians according to a criteria that we have agreed with the government, which, in a nutshell, is that they are in need of international protection. Once they’re registered, they get a registration certificate and it gives them access to aid but it does not confer upon them any other legal status and they must renew their registration coupon every year.
“Within Europe, at the beginning of the crisis, there was a tendency to grant just subsidiary protection* to Syrians but UNHCR is very pleased to see a new trend over the past year or so, whereby – at least in some states – Syrians are more likely to be accorded for refugee status.”
- (protection given to a third-country national or a stateless person who does not qualify as a refugee but would face a real risk of suffering serious harm if he or she was to return to his or her country of origin)
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