Millions of displaced Syrians are looking for a place to be resettled, while countries around the world continue to reject them.
On Holocaust Memorial Day 2017 and amid the world’s greatest refugee crisis since World War II, Donald Trump imposed a four-month suspension of all refugee admissions into the US and indefinitely banned entry to all Syrian refugees.
The president’s executive order suspends the US’s entire refugee resettlement program – the largest in the world – for 120 days, and places a temporary 90-day ban on people from Syria, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan, and Yemen.
Amid personal heartbreak and tragedy for the people and families affected, mass protests have ignited to the “Muslim travel ban” and to the end of the refugee resettlement program. But what impact will the suspension have on countries currently hosting large refugee populations?
For Turkey, currently hosting 2.8m Syrians and more than 290,000 asylum-seekers and refugees from countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran, the US refugee resettlement programme means a great deal.
As a proportion of the whole refugee population in Turkey, the numbers resettled to other countries are small. Numbers for 2016 from the UNHCR are incomplete, but the 8,500 refugees resettled from Turkey to the US within 2016 account for about a tenth of the 84,995 US resettlement places between September 2015 and September 2016.
But resettlement from Turkey matters because while the party to the 1951 Refugee Convention, in Turkey refugees, are only admitted into a temporary protection system. While there is no limit on how long they can stay, they can’t move onto other more permanent forms of residency or citizenship which guarantee more rights.
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