The UN Global Compacts on Refugees and Migration
The Syria crisis has been called the worst humanitarian crisis of our time. Refugees International has been reporting on the Syria crisis since it began, traveling to the region 13 times to assess the situation in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Turkey, and Greece.
The UN reported that the number of refugees and internally displaced people worldwide had reached its highest point ever at a record 65.4 million people, surpassing the previous record seen during WWII.
We advocate for increased aid for the neighboring countries that host the vast majority of Syrian refugees. But we also focus on under-reported issues such as the risk of statelessness for Syrian refugee children in Turkey and the importance of working with local organizations to reach those inside Syria. Due to our advocacy, hundreds of millions of dollars in aid have reached those affected by the conflict.
Following up on our April 2016 report focusing on work permits for Syrian refugees in Turkey, as of early 2017, Turkey has issued approximately 13,000 work permits to Syrian refugees and offered citizenship to approximately 18,000. RI has long advocated for the rights of Syrian refugees to work in Turkey.
In the run-up to the September 2016 Leaders’ Summit on Refugees, RI briefed State Department, White House, and UN staff on key issues connected to livelihood and legal work options for refugees. RI’s report on work permits for Syrian refugees was central in those discussions. The summit went on to achieve its stated goal, securing pledges for improved access to lawful work for more than one million refugees worldwide.
In 2015, the U.S. government pledged $508 million for the Syria crisis with continued focus on host community support and a shift to more long-term assistance, key recommendations from our reports since 2013.
The U.S. Agency for International Development created a $10 million fund to build the capacity of local Syrian organizations working on the ground. This entirely new grant was established in response to RI’s consistent advocacy to empower and expand the capacity of local Syrian aid groups.
In July 2014, the UN Refugee Agency designated additional funding for Syrian refugee operations in Egypt, at a time when Syrian refugee arrivals were at an all-time high and funding shortfalls were severe. RI's advocacy was essential in securing this funding after its mission to the country in April.
In December 2012, RI was one of the first organizations to call on Turkey to establish a registration process for the Syrian refugees who were not living in government-run camps. To date, Turkey has registered 2.5 million Syrian refugees through this system.