Monday, October 15, 2012

Iraq/Turkey: Open Borders to All Syrian Refugees

At Least 10,000 Stranded in Difficult, Dangerous Conditions

"Beirut) – The Iraqi and Turkish authorities should immediately re-open border crossings where more than 10,000 Syrians have been stranded for weeks and allow all those wishing to seek asylum to cross without delay, Human Rights Watch said today. Tens of thousands of Syrians fleeing recent fighting – including in Syria’s Aleppo, Idlib, and Deir el Zor provinces – are attempting to use the crossings to reach Iraq and Turkey quickly and safely.

Since the second half of August 2012, Iraq and Turkey have unlawfully prevented thousands of Syrians from entering their countries through these crossing points. Each country has allowed only a limited number of people to cross, either based on medical emergencies or on arbitrary limits. Blocking people from crossing international borders to claim asylum – whether through formal or informal crossing points – breaches international law, Human Rights Watch said.

“Over 10,000 desperate Syrians fleeing the terror of aerial bombardment and shelling are stuck on the Iraqi and Turkish borders, many living in miserable conditions,” said Gerry Simpson, senior refugees researcher and advocate at Human Rights Watch. “Iraq and Turkey should keep their borders open at all times to people fleeing threats to their lives and other forms of persecution.”......"

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