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World Refugee Day

More than 30,000 refugees from Syria, currently staying in such countries as Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, need immediate help. Despite the unfolding humanitarian crisis, the Member States of the European Union, including Poland, are failing to adequately respond to the situation.

“Over 2.5 million of refugees from Syria displaced in neighbouring countries suffer extraordinary hardships”, says Maciej Fagasiński, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights. “Immediate help is needed for vulnerable persons in particular, including children, single women, and persons with a disability or a chronic illness. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that over 30,000 refugees may be in need of special assistance. A programme of voluntary resettlement is a key to solving the problem”, adds Mr Fagasiński.

The UNHCR calls for accepting the resettlement of the 30,000 most vulnerable refugees. Currently, 20 countries, among them Hungary and the Republic of Moldova, have responded to the call. However, they were able to offer a place to settle to only 18,000 persons. In early June, ministers of German lands declared the willingness to admit about 10,000 refugees. So far Poland have not expressed such readiness.

“Poland should actively engage in helping Syrian refugees and nationals seeking international protection, especially particularly vulnerable persons. Without appropriate assistance, thousands of people staying in refugee camps in Turkey, Lebanon or Jordan will find themselves in an extremely difficult situation, unable to satisfy their very basic needs”, warns Ewa Ostaszewska-Żuk, a lawyer with the HFHR.

Commissar Cecilia Malmström has recently called European Union Member States to step up their involvement in the Syrian refugees resettlement programme. The EU Member States should initiate action to ensure the safety of the most vulnerable Syrian refugees, in particular by increasing the quotas established as part of the already existing voluntary resettlement schemes, and also by launching such programmes in countries which have yet not been involved in the resettlement initiatives.

“The situation in Syria and its neighbouring countries requires an active response from the European Union and Poland. The laws currently in force allows for the creation of a voluntary resettlement programme, so Poland, together with other EU Member States, should immediately start working on such a programme”, says Ms Ostaszewska-Żuk.

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, the Polish Humanitarian Action and the Association for Legal Intervention called Prime Minister Donald Tusk to set up a programme of voluntary resettlement to Poland and increase the Government’s involvement in assisting Syrian refugees.


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