International humanitarian organisation Oxfam has appealed to the Western and other rich countries to resettle more Syrian refugees.
Latest figures from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) show that at least three million Syrians are now refugees.
So far only 5,000 refugees have been resettled in countries beyond Syria’s neighbours through the UN. That’s only 0.16 percent of the registered refugee population.
Since pledging to resettle several hundred refugees from Syria, the UK has only resettled 50.
While praising the UK government for being a generous aid donor, Oxfam said the UK could do more to help resettle the most vulnerable refugees from Syria.
The UK has granted asylum to over 3,000 Syrian nationals, and their dependents since the crisis began. To claim asylum in the UK refugees have to be present in the country.
Andy Baker, head of Oxfam’s Syria crisis response, said: “As the number of refugees grows, aid is proving insufficient and neighbouring countries are stretched to breaking point. It is shocking that over three years into a crisis which shows no sign of abating, under the UN refugee resettlement scheme rich countries have taken in a mere 5,000 of the 3 million registered refugees who are often struggling to survive from one day to the next.”
Baker urged the international community to “step up its support and work with the UN to quickly offer a life-line to some of the most vulnerable families by giving them a new home.”
Urgent action is necessary in order to respond to a growing regional crisis caused by increasing displacement, insufficient aid and over-burdened infrastructure in neighbouring countries, Oxfam said.