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Syrian refugee crisis inquiry launched

17 September 2015

The International Development Committee is holding an inquiry into the Government's response to the Syrian refugee crisis.

Scope of the inquiry

The International Development Committee invites written submissions on the following issues:

  • Are UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) processes effective enough to ensure that the most vulnerable are identified and relocated to the UK?
  • Whether the focus is and should be entirely on children, or whether others, e.g. women who have been subject to sexual violence or minority groups, should be included
  • Whether the camps from which refugees will be relocated are a true representation of the most vulnerable Syrians
  • How "camp" is defined for the purposes of selecting refugees
  • Clarification that no changes are proposed in what funding for refugees is categorised as ODA (Official development assistance) and counts towards the 0.7% ODA target
  • What can be done to ensure that donors provide more funding for refugees in Jordan and Lebanon?

Written submissions

The deadline for written submissions is 12 October 2015.

The Committee considers requests for reasonable adjustments to its usual arrangements for taking evidence and publishing material, to enhance access. Please contact indcom@parliament.uk or telephone 020 7219 1223.

Syrian refugees

Since the outbreak of civil conflict in Syria in 2011, the number of refugees fleeing the country has reached a massive scale. The number of registered Syrian refugees began to rapidly increase in 2013, surpassing four million by July 2015 or around 20% of the country's pre-war population. Around 50% of these registered refugees are aged under 17, many of them in neighbouring Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey.

While the rate of new registrations has slowed in recent months, it continues to increase and the estimated 6.5 million internally displaced persons (IDP) have the potential to add to the total.

Background

Since the beginning of 2014 there has also been a surge in the number of people seeking passage to Europe to claim asylum, with over 380,000 arriving so far this year alone compared with only 22,000 in 2012.The scale and nature of this crisis has raised the question of how the UK government (and governments across Europe) can best respond to this situation.

The UK is the second largest bilateral donor to the crisis. Since 2011, the UK has granted humanitarian protection to almost 5,000 Syrians through normal asylum procedures. A further 216 people have been relocated under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons scheme so far.

On 7 September the Prime Minister announced that the UK will take up to 20,000 Syrian refugees over the rest of this Parliament, using the established UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) process for identifying and resettling those in gravest need. The Prime Minister's statement also added that vulnerable children will be prioritised, with the UNHCR determining those whose needs will be best met by resettlement in the UK.

Further information

Image: PA