During Meeting with King Abdullah of Jordan, President Obama Should Pledge Increased Support for Front-line Syrian Refugee Hosting States

Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First today called on President Obama to announce a major U.S. initiative to help address the Syrian refugee crisis that includes stepped up commitments to support front-line states during his meeting with Jordanian King Abdullah II at the White House on Wednesday. The organization urges the president to announce significant increases in U.S. resettlement of Syrian refugees, humanitarian assistance, and development aid in order to better support Jordan and other front-line refugee-hosting states.

“Jordan and other front-line states are hosting the overwhelming majority of Syrian refugees, straining critical infrastructures. The lack of adequate international assistance and resettlement initiatives has exacerbated these strains, potentially threatening the stability of these states.” said Human Rights First’s Eleanor Acer, who recently returned from a research trip to Jordan. “The United States should significantly increase the number of Syrian refugees resettled to the United States, address resettlement backlogs, and step up humanitarian aid and development investment to better support key infrastructures in Jordan and employment opportunities for both refugees and Jordanians. Not only is this the right thing to do, but it will also advance U.S. national security interests in the region by supporting the stability of Jordan and other states.”

Over 4.6 million Syrians have fled their country due to conflict and persecution, and 6.6 million are displaced within Syria, with many more in need of humanitarian assistance. Syrian border states, including Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan, continue to host the majority of these refugees, who have fled horrific violence and conflict in their country. Over 600,000 Syrian refugees have been registered with UNHCR in Jordan, and the Jordanian government has stated that it hosts 1.4 million Syrians.

Many of these refugees have been stranded for years without the ability to work to support their families, with little access to education and a lack of the level of basic humanitarian assistance they need.

In addition, faced with insufficient humanitarian, development, and resettlement support, Jordan has effectively closed its border to refugees, leaving many trapped within Syria or stranded in remote areas in difficult conditions. Approximately 18,000 refugees remained trapped in a remote desert area along the Jordanian border, unable to cross into Jordan to seek international protection.

“The border restrictions and closures imposed by states surrounding Syria have left thousands of Syrians who fled air strikes and terrorist violence trapped. Not only do these restrictions violate international law protections for refugees, but they also leave thousands of vulnerable families at risk of harm. President Obama should urge Jordan and other states to allow refugees to flee across borders, and should make clear to King Abdullah that the United States will lead efforts to increase assistance and resettlement to better support Jordan and other front-lines states.” added Acer.

Press

Published on February 23, 2016

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