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Turkey: Closing border crossings with Syria will put lives in jeopardy

    September 22, 2014

    The Turkish authorities must ensure that the country’s borders are kept open to those fleeing conflict and human rights abuses in Syria and Iraq, said Amnesty International.

    Turkey began to close some of its border crossings with Syria after 130,000 Kurdish refugees poured into the country in recent days fleeing the advance of the armed group that calls itself the Islamic State (IS).

    “The latest influx of refugees has undoubtedly placed even further strain on Turkey’s already stretched resources, but this cannot be used as an excuse for denying safe sanctuary to anyone who is fleeing the horrors of war,” said Sherif Elsayed-Ali, Head of Refugee and Migrants’ Rights at Amnesty International.

    “With more and more desperate refugees arriving at the border in search of safety, it is crucial that the international community acts now to strengthen its support to Turkey and other countries neighbouring Syria to avert further suffering.”

    Turkey, which before this weekend was already hosting more than one million refugees from Syria, has largely been left to deal with the crisis on its own.

    “World leaders have been quick to condemn the atrocities committed by the armed group that calls itself the Islamic State in both Iraq and Syria. Now they must assist those who have fled from the group,” said Sherif Elsayed-Ali.

    Amnesty International is urging countries to come together at the UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ Executive Committee (ExCom) meeting next week in Geneva to jointly address this global crisis.

    “We must see a comprehensive response to the displacement crisis in the Middle East, including from Syria and Iraq. This must include humanitarian assistance, a plan to help host countries deal with the educational, health and housing needs of the refugee population, and the resettlement of tens of thousands of refugees over the coming years,” said Sherif Elsayed-Ali.

    The conflict in Syria has resulted in the largest forced displacement crisis in the world. There are currently more than 3.3 million refugees from Syria, the vast majority of them have sought refuge in Syria’s neighbouring countries; another 6.5 million people are displaced within Syria’s borders.

     

    For further information, please contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332 bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca