In response to Europe’s growing refugee crisis, the Syrian National Coalition’s Special Representative to the UN, Dr. Najib Ghadbian, issued a letter to the UN Secretary-General and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, appealing for global action to resolve the crisis in Syria and to implement a comprehensive plan to receive and resettle Syrian refugees. In his correspondence, Dr. Ghadbian welcomed the leadership shown by Germany and others in providing asylum to Syrian refugees, but condemned the lack of compassion shown by some within Europe to those fleeing war:
“Much of Europe is failing to shoulder its part of the burden. While Germany and Sweden lead the way in responsible action, along with Austria, the United Kingdom and France, others have failed to treat refugees with the humanity and dignity they deserve. Hungary has erected fences. In Macedonia and Serbia criminals and smugglers operate openly with impunity, attacking and financially exploiting those who are most vulnerable. The Czech Republic has labelled refugees like cattle. Across Europe, refugees are being forced off trains, denied safe passage and asylum.
“The growing frequency with which Syrian refugees are dying on European soil and shores demands a comprehensive response by the international community. The crisis in Syria is no longer a Syrian problem. It is a global problem and it requires a global solution. The international community must work without delay to:
- Develop a plan to receive, process and compassionately resettle refugees fairly;
- Develop regional plans to create legal routes to the EU and elsewhere, so that criminal traffickers are undercut and deaths are prevented along the journey;
- Raise funds to ensure that there is greater structural support to neighbouring countries so that they can better cope with refugees, and above all;
- Tackle the root cause of the refugee crisis by providing in-country protection for Syrian civilians through the enforcement of a no-fly zone which will immediately save the lives of at least 200 civilians per week and will ultimately reduce the flow of refugees, remove a recruiting tool for extremism and increase the odds of a political settlement in Syria.”
On behalf of the Syrian National Coalition, Dr. Ghadbian thanked the Secretary-General for the life-saving work conducted by the UNHCR and urged the Secretary-General to extend an invitation to Syrian refugees and civic activists to take part in his upcoming UN conference of refugees, currently planned for 30 September at the sidelines of the UN General Assembly Foreign Ministerial week.