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World has failed Syrians - UN refugee chief Grandi

13 marzo 2021 | 00.28
LETTURA: 2 minuti

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Photo: AFP

The world has failed Syrians in the ten years since their country's devastating conflict began, United Nation refugee chief Filippo Grandi said on Friday, urging nations to boost solidarity with impoverished Syrian refugees.

"Ten years of the Syrian crisis have inflicted unimaginable human suffering and pain. The world has failed Syrians," Grandi said in a statement.

"I observe this anniversary with a heavy heart. For global leaders, it’s a stark and damning reminder that this decade of death, destruction and displacement happened on their watch."

Over the past decade since the conflict between forces loyal to president Bashar al-Assad and rebels began, half of the Syrian population has been forced to flee their homes in "one of the largest refugee crises in modern times," Grandi stated.

More than 5.5 million are refugees in the region, while hundreds of thousands more are scattered across 130 countries. Another 6.7 million Syrians have also been forced to flee to other areas of the country, Grandi noted.

"In ten years, hardly any town or village in Syria has been spared of violence, and the humanitarian suffering and deprivation of those inside Syria is untenable," he underlined.

Waning humanitarian aid and a COVID-19 induced economic downturn has driven Syrian refugees "to unseen levels of desperation," said Grandi.

In Lebanon, nine out of ten Syrians now live in extreme poverty while loss of livelihoods, rising unemployment and the COVID-19 crisis have also driven millions of their Jordanian, Lebanese, Turkish and Iraqi hosts below the poverty line, he said.

"Their economies, scarce resources, infrastructure and societies are under tremendous pressure," Grandi warned.

Grandi praised initiatives by many governments to help Syrian refugees and host countries, such as resettlement, family reunifications, humanitarian visas, scholarships and legal immigration pathways.

But he urged the international community to "redouble our collective efforts to support both refugees and the communities hosting them".

"The gravity of this crisis must not weaken our solidarity for Syrians," Grandi concluded.

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