In view of the alarming situation of Syrian refugees – estimated by the UNHCR to number over 3 million at the end of 2013 – PACE has called on member and observer States to "show generosity and solidarity" in admitting these refugees to their territory, while recommending a balanced distribution amongst countries.
In a resolution unanimously adopted today on the basis of a report by Jean-Marie Bockel (France, EPP/CD), PACE expressed its gratitude to the Turkish, Jordanian, Lebanese and Iraqi authorities for having taken in an enormous number of Syrian refugees. It also thanked the Council of Europe member States which have agreed to accommodate them – in particular Armenia, Austria, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey – in order to relieve some of the pressure on Syria's neighbours.
The parliamentarians, however, regretted that member States have not adopted general policies on Syrian refugees and that most of them continue to assess Syrian asylum applications individually.
PACE voiced particular concern about the situation of women and children, who account for the great majority of these refugees, pointing out that the children were encountering problems with access to education and that many women were suffering sexual and gender-based violence, such as rapes, forced marriages and prostitution.