Philippe Leclerc, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) representative in Turkey, stressed the need to provide more support to this and other countries that host Syrians due to the burden that the COVID-19 pandemic poses for refugees and host countries.
Leclerc told Anadolu Agency, We advocate for the international community to support Turkey and all its neighboring countries who are hosting Syria in the 11th year of the Syrian civil war.
Leclerc said the response to the refugee crisis must be global and Shared accountability.
The representative described the Syrian conflict as the “tragedy of the 21st century” and emphasized that the pandemic is affecting States’ capacities to respond to both their citizen’s and refugees’ needs.
The Global Compact for Refugees aims to alleviate pressures on host nations, enhance refugee independence, increase the way to third-country solutions, and aid situations in nations of origin to assure a safe return, Leclerc said
Likewise, Leclerc said that the pact provides the necessary basis to share responsibility in countries with a large refugee population.
Leclerc added, Something should be done to the refugees, including financial assistance, more rehabilitation, and supplementary routes, when Turkey hosts four million people in difficult circumstances.
The official said that the number of Syrian refugees has decreased in recent years but that their lives have become more difficult.
While funding is critical to addressing immediate and growing humanitarian needs, international solidarity must commit to long-term financial support to host countries, according to Leclerc.
He noted that everyone should be able to access health facilities and services, including vaccinations. In this sense, Leclerc asserted that the pandemic would only be controlled when vaccines are available on an equal footing for all people, regardless of their state.
The representative recalled that Turkey provided free access to protective equipment, tests, and medicines for COVID-19 to refugees in need, regardless of whether they have social security.
As a positive approach, we are pleased to see that Turkey also included refugees and migrants in the vaccination program,” he said.
Noting the importance of resettlement to a third country, Leclerc said this could save the most vulnerable refugees’ lives and give them new hope.
The difference between need and actual easement has never been greater. While UNHCR continues to seek durable solutions for all refugees, resettlement sites made available by third countries remain very limited globally,” Leclerc added.