U.S. commitment to accept up to 8,000 Syrian refugees is not enough, says the IRC
September 2, 2015 by The IRC
|More than 340,000 people have fled to Europe over the past year to escape conflict or persecution in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. Most have fled the brutal war in Syria, now in its fifth year. Photo: Tyler Jump/IRC|
As the humanitarian crisis sparked by Syria’s bloody war spills over into Europe, the International Rescue Committee is renewing its call for the United States government to resettle 65,000 Syrian refugees before the end of 2016.
The recent U.S. commitment to accept between 5,000 and 8,000 Syrian refugees is only a first step toward alleviating the suffering of Syrian civilians, the IRC said in a statement released today.
Nearly five years into the conflict, Syria’s neighbors can no longer absorb the growing influx of refugees and provide urgently needed aid — so tens of thousands of Syrians are crowding into tiny boats to try to reach safety on Europe’s southern shores. Many have drowned in the attempt.
“Not only are Syrians resorting to desperate measures to seek a better life for themselves and their families in Europe, but they are dying in the process,” said IRC president David Miliband.
The U.S. has taken in just 1,434 Syrian refugees since the conflict began. The IRC has helped nearly 270 of them start to rebuild their lives in states including New Jersey and Georgia — but there are far more who have not been given the opportunity to be considered for resettlement.
"The U.S. has historically been the world leader in recognizing the moral obligation to resettle refugees,” Miliband said. “As the German government calmly says that it expects 800,000 refugees and asylum seekers in 2015, it is vital for the U.S. to step up its response.”
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