The protracted war in Syria has resulted in the world’s most serious humanitarian crisis in decades: according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), over four million Syrian refugees are now displaced in neighboring countries. Because of resource constraints and delays, many of the most vulnerable Syrian refugees are not receiving the assistance they need and have turned to smugglers as an alternative.
UNHCR offices have requested IRAP’s assistance in locating, documenting, and referring at-risk Syrian cases for registration, protection, and resettlement. We have utilized our grassroots networks, particularly among LGBTI populations and women at risk, to refer individuals to UNHCR who otherwise would not be able to safely register, receive aid and local protection, and apply for resettlement as appropriate. Being able to locate and serve Syrian refugees in these countries of first asylum will also give lifelines to those who otherwise might turn to boats.
IRAP has developed a specific set of program and policy agenda items to try to address the systemic failures in countries of first asylum to locate and assist the most vulnerable refugees. We are adding staff to our Middle East offices to bolster these efforts, provide capacity-building and training to local organizations, and support the efforts of UNHCR to screen, protect, identify, and resettle the Syrian refugees most in need.