Syrian refugee crisis: three things you can do


Conflict broke out in Syria in early 2011.  Nearly four million people have fled the country, predominately to Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.  The Middle East region has struggled to cope with the mass influx of people in need, who are now spreading to Europe’s shores in search of safety.

The harrowing photos of refugees who lost their lives crossing the Mediterranean Sea this week, including of a toddler who washed up on a Turkish beach, have ignited a growing global commitment to do more.

Here are three things you can do.

Be involved

Look for campaigns, protest or advocacy groups in your country.

This week has seen civil society and public action change refugee policy, with campaigns in Iceland, England and other countries quickly gaining traction, and seeing European Governments raise their refugee quotas, and consider greater funding to key humanitarian bodies, like the UNHCR.

Be generous

A large number of NGOs and other civil society organisations are working to support refugees, and advocate for different policies. Consider donating to support a program or campaign you believe in.

Be informed

Conflict broke out in Syria in early 2011. 

Now, nearly four million people have fled the country, predominately to Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. One of five people living in Lebanon is a Syrian refugee.

European Union members saw a 25 per cent increase in asylum applications in 2014, compared to 2013, and large number of refugees now arrive by sea.

The number of refugees crossing the Mediterranean to reach Europe this year has surpassed 300,000, with 200,000 arriving in Greece, and a further 110,000 in Italy.

According to the UNHCR, among those seeking protection in Europe large numbers are unaccompanied and separated children.

It is estimated that 10.8 million, of Syria's 22 million population, are affected by the conflict and in need of humanitarian assistance. Around 6.5 million people are internally displaced, often moving multiple times within the country in search of safety from violence and bloodshed.

A report released this week by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic  said civilians in Syria are “suffering the unimaginable, as the world stands witness.”

“We must do more for the victims of this conflict who have been forced to flee their homes and to seek protection and refuge under the direst of circumstances,” the report said.

Our research found Syria to be the least peaceful country on the Global Peace Index for the last two years. However, back in 2008 it was ranked 88th out of 162 countries. 

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