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Press Release

The International Rescue Committee expresses dismay at 10,000 number for Syrian refugee resettlement

Updated 
  • Calls on US Government to resettle 100,000 Syrian refugees in 2016.
  • David Miliband: This offer is “cold comfort” to victims of Syria’s conflict.
  • The international response to refugee resettlement wholly inadequate. United States must lead at this critical moment.

**Update** September 11, 2015:  The IRC supports Refugee Council USA call for 100,000 Syrian refugees to be resettled to the US in 2016. Numbers below are updated from 65,000 to 100,000 to reflect that support.

The International Rescue Committee today expressed dismay at President Obama’s announcement that the US government would increase by 2,000 the number of Syrian refugees admitted to the country in 2016 from 8,000 to 10,000. The IRC called on the US to resettle 100,000 Syrian refugees in 2016.

The IRC has been responding to the Syrian conflict on all levels: in the Syria region, in Greece, and in the US where it has resettled 270 of the 1500 Syrians who have been accepted since the crisis began almost five years ago.

Over 4 million Syrian refugees now live in limbo in refugee camps and urban settings in neighboring countries. With no end in sight to the conflict, tens of thousands are now taking desperate measures to seek safety in Europe.

The international commitment to refugee resettlement has been wholly inadequate to date. France has committed to 20,000 Syrian refugees in the next 2 years with the UK willing to assist only 20,000 before the end of 2020. The IRC calls on the Administration to heed the calls of both political and religious leaders in this country and from the public to address the Syrian refugee crisis, and respond in a far more significant way.

There is precedent for a large scale increase in refugee resettlement. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the United States resettled over 150,000 refugees from Southeast Asia—on an annual basis – who have since then become a rich and vibrant component of the cultural fabric of this country.

David Miliband, president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee said:

“This offer to 2,000 people is cold comfort to the victims of the Syrian conflict. With 4 million living in limbo and tens of thousands making desperate choices to reach safety, the US has a moral responsibility to lead and is fully equipped to respond in a far more robust way.

“The international response to refugee resettlement has been wholly inadequate to date. The United States – a country that has long been recognized as a humanitarian leader in refugee resettlement, once again must lead at this most critical moment.

“The International Rescue Committee stands ready to do our part to welcome Syrian refugees – in significantly larger numbers - to the United States.”

Earlier this week, the IRC along with members of Refugee Council USA sent a letter to the White House pledging their support to assist with the resettlement of up to 100,000 Syrians to the United States next year. The IRC strongly believes that this is what is urgently needed to rescue those families who the UN Refugee Agency has identified as the most vulnerable. It will also relieve some of the burden on neighboring countries, Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan, who have to date borne all of the responsibility of the 4 million people who have fled the conflict in Syria.

About the IRC

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 26 U.S. cities helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.