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22 Apr 2015
Gaziantep, 22 April 2015 – United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark today visited Syrian families in refugee camps in Gaziantep in South East Turkey. According to UNHCR, Turkey now hosts the largest number of refugees in the world. As of March, the number of Syrian refugees in Turkey was at least 1.7 million, 250,000 of whom are residing in 25 camps managed by the government of Turkey.
Helen Clark commended Turkey’s response to the refugee crisis, which it has funded almost entirely from its own resources. She said that as the numbers of those fleeing Syria continue to grow, and the end of the conflict is not in sight, Turkey needs greater international solidarity.
“The overwhelming desire of the Syrians I met in the camps today is to be able to return home,” said Helen Clark. “While a settlement to the crisis remains elusive, everything possible must be done to support them and the communities hosting them.”
The Syrian conflict has killed at least 200,000 Syrians, heavily damaged the country’s economy, and resulted in four out of every five Syrians living in poverty. The continued flow of refugees from the conflict has also put the neighboring countries under pressure. An additional 804,000 Syrians are forecast to flee the crisis this year, bringing the total Syrian refugee population in the region up to 4.2 million by the end of the year.
UNDP and UNHCR signed a partnership last year to strengthen the resilience of the Turkish communities living close to the border and most affected by influx of refugees. This partnership has two main components: support to municipal services and basic needs, and support to create jobs and livelihoods in the local economy.
Helen Clark applauded Turkey on the passage of new legislation which, when implemented, will enable Syrians and others fleeing conflict to enter the labour market legally.
“This will help families to attain independence and boost their prospects,” she said. “This is a best practice approach which I urge all countries hosting refugees to consider adopting, if they have not done so already.”
Click here for more information about UNDP’s work on Syrian refugees
Click here for more information about UNDP’s work in Turkey
In Turkey, Faik Uyanik at Faik.Uyanik@undp.org +90 530 499 25 48
In New York, Christina LoNigro at Christina.firstname.lastname@example.org or +0 212 906 5301