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On World Refugee Day, PACE President deplores ‘unprecedented’ suffering of Syrian refugees

Strasbourg, 19.06.2013 – On the eve of World Refugee Day (20 June), the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Jean-Claude Mignon, has made the following statement:

“The drastic situation of the Syrian refugees is constantly worsening and has reached an unprecedented level of suffering. A million and a half Syrians have fled their country; it is an outright humanitarian disaster!

Failing a political agreement to resolve a situation which has lasted far too long, the humanitarian crisis is stalemated and will only make the trauma more severe and profound for the refugees.

Certain groups of refugees are naturally more vulnerable than others. Over half a million children, uprooted, disoriented, their schooling broken off, sometimes separated from their families, are paying the heaviest price for the conflict. Very often they flee with only their mothers, aunts or grandmothers who are themselves a vulnerable group, especially in the event of pregnancy.

The immensely generous humanitarian aid provided by the states adjacent to Syria and by international organisations such as the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is reaching its limits and running out. They must be given more resources and support to enable them to continue carrying out their mission effectively.

On this World Refugee Day, I draw attention to the suffering of the Syrian refugees and of all refugees worldwide, and I call upon Europe, as a matter of the utmost urgency, to display greater solidarity with regard to the anguish and the needs of refugees.”

On the sidelines of the June part-session of the Parliamentary Assembly, the Parliamentary Network Women Free from Violence, in cooperation with the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will launch a publication on refugee women and the Istanbul Convention, coinciding with the inauguration of an exhibition on Wednesday 26 June 2013 at 1pm in the Parliamentary Assembly lounge area.