VOICES FROM THE FIELDTHE IRC BLOG
Aid groups: 'Open borders for all refugees fleeing Syria'
October 2, 2013 by The IRC
|A Jordanian soldier looks down upon a line of women at a distribution of blankets in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. Photo: Peter Biro/IRC|
“When a war sweeps up a nation, there can be nothing more important to its people than open borders.”
- UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres, quoted in a statement delivered by the International Rescue Committee on Oct. 1 on behalf of a coalition of aid organizations responding to the humanitarian crisis sparked by the civil war in Syria.
In the statement, which was presented at the UNHCR’s Executive Committee meeting this week in Geneva, the organizations expressed concern with a trend of closed and “managed” borders in the Middle East. They called on all countries in the region to ensure that those fleeing the war in Syria – including Syrians of Arab and Kurdish descent, Palestinians, and Iraqi refugees – are able to seek safety and not be discriminated against for their ethnic, religious or national backgrounds. The aid groups also urged the international community to support Syria's neighbors in their efforts to offer protection to Syrians and other refugees fleeing the conflict.
“Our statement on behalf of the aid organizations was a call for all countries to contribute toward alleviating the suffering,” says Patrick Duplat, director of the IRC’s office in Geneva.
Read the aid groups’ full statement: NGO Statement at the High Level Segment on Solidarity and Responsibility-Sharing with Countries Hosting Syrian Refugees
Read the response of the UNHCR Executive Committee:
High Level Segment of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Program on Solidarity and Burden-sharing with Countries Hosting Syrian Refugees