June 13, 2016

LIBERATING SYRIANS:

To really improve the lives of Syrian refugees, Turkey and the world must cooperate better (Kemal KiriƟci | June 9, 2016, Brookings)

The Syrian crisis is now in its sixth year. Half of Syria's population is now either an internally displaced person or a refugee. Frontline countries are now hosting close to five million refugees. Turkey, which has taken in more than 2.8 million Syrians, is by far the largest recipient. Instability in Iraq has displaced another quarter of a million people into Turkey, joining an ever-growing number of asylum seekers from countries around the world. [...]

To avoid refugees getting locked into a permanent state of dependence on handouts or becoming alienated from the rest of society--both of which are likely to generate security challenges--integration is the only way forward. Turkey has already taken a step in the right direction by opening up its labor market to Syrian refugees. The right to legal employment is an important step, but it is not enough: refugees will need skills training and education on Turkish language and culture, and the Turkish leadership needs to develop new strategies for job creation. Recent studies estimate that less than one third of school-age children in Turkey have access to proper schooling. More worrisome, many are reportedly exposed to informal radical Islamist education. This does not bode well for the prospect of helping these children become productive members of society. It also makes them attractive targets for those trying to recruit more people into their crime or terrorism networks. 

Meeting these two major challenges to integration--employment and education--requires greater cooperation with the international community. More concerted action at the international level is needed to mobilize funds and implement capacity-building programs that can support Turkey's efforts. This should be accompanied by a robust global resettlement program for refugees--possibly resembling the Comprehensive Plan of Action for Indochinese Refugees between 1988 and 1996--who are particularly vulnerable, such as single-mothers with children, the elderly, and those with particularly difficult medical conditions. 



Posted by at June 13, 2016 4:40 PM

  

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