Human Rights Defenders in the Middle East and North Africa Call on International Community, European Union and Arab Countries to Carry their Responsibilities Towards Syrian Refugees

Human Rights Defenders

We, the undersigned, are a group of activists working in the field of human rights in the Middle East and North Africa region. We firmly uphold principles of international human rights law and applicable related international treaties and conventions, through which we seek to promote the values, principles and standards of human rights and defend them in the Middle East and North Africa and throughout the world. As a duty towards human rights principles, we follow with great concern the developing crisis of asylum seekers in Europe, and the various reports on the deaths of hundreds of Syrian refugees who drowned and, or, strangled during their travel to European Union countries.

The excessive use of military force and consequence crimes committed in Syria, including the use of indiscriminate weapons, explosive barrels and chemical weapons; have all led to the displacement of more than four million Syrians outside Syria (those that United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR has been able to register their cases), in addition to the displacement of around six millions internally. During this period, the international community failed to even condemn clear and grave violations, and failed to present any solution that provide protection for civilians inside Syrian territories; in particular, against intentional air force attacks on residential areas.

During more than four and a half years of asylum, Syrian refugees were not granted the status of “refugee” in most neighboring countries, and instead they were referred to as “guests”- a term that does not hold definition in international law, while denying these refugees many of their civil and political rights they should have enjoyed as refugees in these countries.

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