Children on the Edge have been involved in providing education for Syrian refugee children in Lebanon for over a year and a half but naturally since the refugee crisis in Europe hit our TV screens and papers, we have had many more enquiries about how to help, and about what our general response is. Here is a brief statement that hopefully answers most of these.
Where can funding help best?
Funding can make the most difference in the border areas around Syria. Less than 2% of those displaced by the current conflict have made the journey to Europe. The project we support in the Syrian refugee settlements in Lebanon needs a lot of help. The UN still only has a third of the funding needed for refugees in the border areas around Syria. This has resulted in a severe cut in rations and is one of the main push factors for refugees into Europe, forcing them to make long and dangerous journeys. Recent EU discussions have suggested that the UN will get an increase in their budget but this will take much time to materialise.
What about those in Europe?
We are currently not pursuing any project for those refugees in Europe as the media attention is so strongly focussed on this area, there is a lot of aid being directed there. In truth, the most vulnerable people would not be able to attempt a trip to Europe and our policy is to focus, where we can, on the most vulnerable and where the vast majority of refugees reside.
With regards to European arrivals, we believe that refugees need to be registered properly, not turned away and not put in internment camps. A Europe wide co-ordinated effort is necessary to process people and identify genuine asylum seekers so they can get support. If you wish to voice your concerns, and urge for a humane, co-ordinated and effective EU response, Amnesty have an e-mail link that is useful.
What about the British government’s response?
Children on the Edge feel that the response of the British government with regards to admitting 20,000 people over 5 years is inadequate. At least 20,000 each year for 5 years would be an appropriate response. However we welcome their focus on taking refugees direct from the border camps and the input of aid into these border areas through DFID.
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