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Adoption of Annette Groth’s report on Syrian refugees at the Council of Europe

“Yesterday, my report ‘A stronger European response to the Syrian refugee crisis’ was adopted by a large majority at the Council of Europe. I view as particularly central the demands made in the report for financial assistance to Syria’s neighbours – which must be generous, rapid and tailored to the needs of the countries concerned. Procedures for family reunification in Europe must be significantly streamlined and based on a broad definition of the family; the EU states must give special priority to providing refuge for particularly vulnerable groups. Syrian refugees who have fled violence and mortal danger must not be denied protection and  a chance to live in safety – neither by Turkey and other neighbouring states, nor by the EU and its Member States”,  said Annette Groth, spokeswoman on human rights for the Left Party parliamentary group, who is currently at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg for the Spring session of the Parliamentary Assembly.  Annette Groth continued:

“Both in my report and during my trips to Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, I have paid special attention to the Palestinian refugees who have fled from Syria. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the fact that they often fall through the cracks in the system, due to the fact that it is UNRWA, rather than UNHCR, which is responsible for them. In addition, they are now effectively being denied entry to Syria’s neighbouring states. The escape route from war in Syria and violence is thus blocked for them. The international community must shoulder its responsibility for these people both in financial terms and in terms of resettlement programmes and family reunification!”

In conclusion, Annette Groth said:

“The agreement that the EU has concluded with Turkey is not a solution, but rather another indictment of the Western world, which has completely failed to meet its responsibility to the refugees in the last five years.  It is a crime to deport people to Turkey, which is known to be returning some refugees to countries like Afghanistan or Syria and is shooting at refugees using live ammunition. Turkey is not a safe country for refugees – no more than it is safe for Kurds and many Turks, against whom President Erdogan is waging a brutal war!”