Saturday, June 21, 2014

Syrian refugees in Turkey exceed 1 million mark

The number of Syrians in neighbouring Turkey has surpassed 1 million, the Turkish deputy prime minister has said.
Syrian refugees in Sanliurfa.

There are more than 20 refugee camps in Turkey near the roughly 500-mile border with Syria housing more than 220,000 people. But the bulk of people who have crossed the border are living in Turkish cities, mostly in the provinces of Hatay, Gaziantep and Sanliurfa. They have taken advantage of the "open border" policy maintained by Turkey, a staunch opponent of the regime in Damascus, towards Syrian refugees.

The Turkish deputy prime minister, Besir Atalay, told a news conference on Thursday that the number of Syrians in Turkey had reached 1.05 million since the uprising against Bashar al-Assad began more than three years ago. It began with largely peaceful protests but has become increasingly bloody, with a number of jihadist groups joining the fight to depose Assad and no end to the civil war in sight. Activists put the number of people killed at more than 160,000.

Friday, June 20, 2014

How Europe is failing Syria's refugees

The statistics are sobering: In just over three years of violent conflict, nine million Syrians have been forced to flee their homes. Around two thirds remain within the fractured state, while somewhere between two and a half to three million are eking out an existence in neighboring countries. Fewer than 100,000 have found safety in Europe.

The figure is glaringly at odds with EU rhetoric on human rights and its advocated approach to the refugee crisis. A Commission document published last month urged countries neighboring Syria to keep their borders open, "in line with international humanitarian law principles for the passage of all civilians without distinction."
Yet its own controlled and patrolled borders are virtually impenetrable. That those kept at bay are fleeing the horrors of a war triggered by the pursuit of the very democratic values supposedly upheld within the bloc’s bounds, reads like a bitter irony.

But Sherif Elsayed-Ali, Head of Refugee and Migrants’ Rights at Amnesty International, is not surprised by the bloc’s iron gates policy towards Syria’s displaced. "We have seen a lot of what the EU is doing to keep people from reaching Europe," he told DW. "They are very good at physically closing off their borders and preventing people from leaving the country they are in."

Syrians struggling to begin new lives in Istanbul

By Anna Shea, Legal Adviser on Refugee and Migrant Rights at Amnesty International.

What struck me most when I met Zeinah (not her real name), a 29-year-old Syrian refugee in Turkey, were her warm personality and marvelous smile. But her past and present experiences give her precious little to smile about.

Zeinah arrived in Turkey four months ago, having fled her native Syria.

Like other Syrians I met in Istanbul, Zeinah had experienced horrors in her country of origin, and was desperate to start a new life. A teacher by profession, she was jailed by the Bashar al-Assad regime for allegedly providing assistance to opposition groups. She said she was raped and beaten multiple times over the several months she spent in prison and was eventually released due to lack of evidence.

The abuse she suffered in jail has left her with injuries to her spine – and serious psychological trauma – which remain untreated.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

UNHCR Turkey Syrian Refugee Daily Sitrep

● On 16 June 2014, AFAD - the Disaster and Emergency Management Agency of Government of Turkey - announced that the total number of Syrians registered and assisted in 22 camps located in 10 provinces was 219,209. AFAD reported that during the period of 15-16 June 2014, a total of 752 Syrians were admitted and registered in the camps and 294 Syrians voluntarily returned to Syria.

● The registration of non-camp Syrians in the 10 provinces in the southeast is ongoing. According to official numbers, around 560,000 non-camp Syrians have been registered and/or enumerated in the 10 southeastern provinces. Of this total about 52% are registered within the police registration system with integrated fingerprints, 42% were enumerated or registered by AFAD coordination centers before police took over the registration process. About 6% in the southeast including Mersin have ikamets (residence permits).

● In Karkamis, camp officials informed UNHCR that due to heavy rains during last week, 6 out of 7 manholes in the camp were overloaded and, while they were being repaired, a water pipe was damaged and caused a temporary water cut. The water supply has now been restored to the camp.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

​The return of polio in Turkey: Syrian refugees in Istanbul

Over the past weeks and months, I have often dealt with Turkey's overt and covert involvement in Syria's not-so civil war next door. The country at the moment is home to at least 720,000 Syrian refugees.
Only a small fraction of these have been registered and are housed in camps, with around 500,000 refugees living in urban centers throughout the country, and migrating west with the hope of ending up in Istanbul – Turkey officially estimates that about 120,000 Syrians actually live there now.

These Syrians have risked life and limb to escape from the dangers of war. And now it turns out, these Syrian refugees have become a source of danger in their own right.

The Turkish authorities are afraid of a sudden and fatal outbreak of the poliovirus (popularly better known as infantile paralysis) in Istanbul, a virus carried by the youngest of refugees now residing in the city.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Bulgaria’s Ugly Underside: 'Containing' a Refugee Crisis

The Bulgarian guards found us, pointed their guns at us and started beating us,” the 25-year-old Afghan said, describing what happened to him on 11 January.

“Afterward, they put us in the car and took us to the border. They took all our phones and money and any valuables we had. Before releasing us, they beat us again and pointed to Turkey and told us to go there.”
Faced with the prospect late last year of growing numbers of Syrians and other asylum seekers and migrants arriving via Turkey, the Bulgarian Council of Ministers opted for a “plan for the containment of the crisis”.
Containment does not pretend to solve a crisis, or even to treat its victims fairly and humanely, but implies just keeping a lid on it.

Among the principal aims was “reducing the number of persons seeking protection in the territory of Bulgaria.” Bulgaria deployed 1,500 additional police to the border.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Containment Plan: Bulgaria’s Pushbacks and Detention of Syrian and Other Asylum Seekers and Migrants

HRW Report: Containment Plan

Bulgaria’s Pushbacks and Detention of Syrian and Other Asylum Seekers and Migrants

April 2014

This 76-page report documents how in recent months Bulgarian border police, often using excessive force, have summarily returned people who appear to be asylum seekers to Turkey. The people have been forced back across the border without proper procedures and with no opportunity to lodge asylum claims. Bulgaria should end summary expulsions at the Turkish border, stop the excessive use of force by border guards, and improve the treatment of detainees and conditions of detention in police stations and migrant detention centers.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

AFAD Report: Syrian Refugees in Turkey, Field Survey Results 2013

Turkey Prime Ministry Disaster and Emergency Managment Presidency (AFAD) published a report on Syrian refugee in Turkey.

From the introduction part of the report;

AFAD conducted an extensive profiling survey with Syrian refuges living in temporary accommodation centers and outside the centers in various cities in Turkey. Survey aims to (1) collect data to improve the conditions and quality of the service in the temporary accommodation centers, (2) obtain demographic socio-economic and socio-cultural information about the Syrian refugees, (3) do a needs assessment for the humanitarian needs of the Syrian refugees living in various cities outside the temporary protection centers.

The profiling survey is carried out as face to face interview in the accommodation centers in Adana, Adıyaman, Hatay, Gaziantep, Kahramanmaraş, Kilis, Malatya, Mardin, Osmaniye and Şanlıurfa. Survey includes questions on demographic and socio-economic profile, accommodation, security, health, education, nutrition, water and cleaning, and expectations for the future. The survey in temporary accommodation centers collected information from 7,860 refugees in 1,420 households and the survey for refugees living in various cities outside the temporary accommodation centers includes data from 7,340 individuals in 1,160 households.

To read the full report in English please click.