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Reaction to number of Syrian refugees exceeding five million

30th Mar 2017

Responding to news that the number of Syrians forced to flee to other countries has exceeded five million or a quarter of Syrian's population, Mark Goldring, chief executive of Oxfam GB, said: 

"This sad milestone shows how desperate people are to flee the violence and persecution in Syria. Despite ever greater numbers of Syrians crossing the border, the UK Government has refused to revisit its pledge to resettle 20,000 refugees over five years. 

"Oxfam calls on rich countries to show their support for Syria's neighbours that have welcomed the lion's share of these refugees and to resettle at least the most vulnerable 10 percent by the end of 2017. Next week's meeting in Brussels is an opportunity for the UK to show leadership by stepping up its commitment to Syrians forced to flee."


Notes to editors: 

The UN Refugee Agency UNHCR announced on 30 March 2017 that more than five million Syrians have now sought safety in neighbouring countries. Oxfam and others have argued that resettling at least 10 percent of the refugee population by the end of this year  is both necessary and possible. An Oxfam report in December 2016 showed that less than three percent of the Syrian refugee population have actually arrived in rich countries through resettlement programmes.

Next week, ministers from a number of nations including the UK will meet in Brussels for the Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region conference. 

For updates, please follow @oxfamgbpress

Note: This reaction was edited on 3rd April 2017 to remove a figure stating that 250,000 Syrian refugees had been resettled so far, as this figure is contested.