Investigations | 28 Nov 2014

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has several offices in various capitals of the world, including Ankara. This organization aims to lead and coordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve their problems. It additionally seeks to ensure the ability of everyone to exercise their right to seek asylum and find safe haven in the other states. Many Syrians are, however, complaining about the absence of the role of UNHCR in Turkey, while many other Syrians have not even heard of it at all.

Ghazwan Qurunful, head of the Free Syrian Lawyers League [FSLL], that the role of the High Commissioner of the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees in Turkey has either been withheld from Syrians, or is non-existent.

He adds that he visited the UNHCR office in Ankara, and asked them about their role in providing assistance to Syrian refugees in Turkey. The curt and circumscript reply he received was literally: "You Syrians are under Turkish protection. You have no other shelter but Turkey."

In the view of Mohammed Ajjan, a Syrian refugee in Turkey, the Syrian refugees' situation and their attendant suffering, has caused many Syrians in Turkey to question the role of the Commission, especially that Ankara denied Syrians the status of refugees.

Thus, Muhammad asks: "How can I call myself a guest, if my monthly rent in Rehaynli is 700 Turkish Lira?" f he were to obtain refugee status, such will enable him to receive a monthly stipend, access to free-of-charge shelter, instead of being reduced to begging and humiliation suffered by the Syrians displaced in Turkish cities, he says.

The man explains that charities benefited from this chaotic situation, adopting a style similar to that of criminal gangs. Each charity has its own agenda and its retenue of beneficiaries from its services. He sums up the case, be saying: "the big fish eat the tiny fish."

Many Syrians interviewed by Rozana, do not know much about the role of the Refugee Commissioner or its tasks and responsibilities. For example Abdullah, a Syrian displaced in Turkey, knows the Commission by name only and, according to his point of view, it is supposed to provide services to the displaced Syrians, but is totally unaware what such aid comprises.

Abdullah confirms that most of the Syrian people are poor, and that they mostly prefer to work according to the principle of self-reliance, to live with dignity.

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