UNHCR wants mass resettlement of Syrians

2016-01-19 05:28
Filippo Grandi (AP)

Filippo Grandi (AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Zaatari refugee camp, Jordan - The new chief of the UN refugee agency said on Monday the world should find a fairer formula for sharing the burden of Syria's crisis, including taking in tens of thousands of refugees from overwhelmed regional host nations.

Filippo Grandi, who assumed his post earlier this month, heads an agency grappling with mounting challenges as Syria's five-year-old civil war drags on. Humanitarian aid lags more and more behind growing global needs, including those caused by the Syrian conflict.

More than 4 million Syrians have fled their homeland, the bulk living in increasingly difficult conditions in neighbouring countries such as Jordan and Lebanon, while hundreds of thousands have flooded into Europe.

Grandi came to Jordan after a stop in Turkey. Later this week, he is due in Lebanon. He visited the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan after meeting with King Abdullah II in the capital, Amman.

His agency, UNHCR, hopes to raise money for refugees at a London pledging conference in February, followed by an international gathering in March in Geneva where countries would commit to taking in more refugees.

"I think we need to be much more ambitious" about resettling refugees, Grandi said. "We are talking about large numbers ... in the tens of thousands."

"What is needed is a better sharing of responsibilities, internationally, for a crisis that cannot only concern the countries neighbouring Syria," he said.

Smugglers

Hundreds of thousands of refugees entered Europe in 2015, often with the help of smugglers who ferried them across the Mediterranean in dangerous voyages.

Grandi said it was time to create legal ways for some refugees to leave overburdened host countries.

Grandi and his Jordanian hosts also discussed a potentially contentious issue - the fate of about 17 000 refugees who have amassed on the Syrian-Jordanian border, with numbers rising rapidly in recent months.

They are stranded in a remote desert area, with Jordan only admitting several dozen each day after stringent security checks. The UNHCR has warned that the refugees face deteriorating conditions, including lack of adequate shelter.

Jordanian government spokesperson Mohammed Momani said on Sunday that Jordan believes Islamic State supporters are among the refugees, many of whom fled areas of Syria currently under ISIS control.

Momani said Jordan's security is a priority, suggesting a change in the current admissions policy is unlikely. He said aid workers are given access to the area and that Jordan will fly the refugees to any country willing to accept them.

Momani said Jordan has not shifted from what it calls an "open border policy" toward refugees, even though the number of admissions has dropped sharply since the early days of the Syria conflict.

Grandi said Monday he has "asked for is for this rhythm of admissions [to Jordan] to increase and to be expedited," and that the dialogue with Jordan is constructive.

Andrew Harper, the UNHCR chief in Jordan, said the agency is trying to address Jordanian security concerns, but "we will not set up a camp in an insecure environment" on the border.

Read more on:    unhcr  |  jordan  |  migrants

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.