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Fight against terrorism/Syria/Iraq/refugees

Published on July 28, 2015
Reply by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, to a question in the National Assembly

Paris, July 21, 2015

In June 2015, nearly 7.6 million Syrians were regarded as internally displaced people, while the figure for Iraqi displaced people exceeded 3 million. In addition, there are 4 million Syrian refugees in the neighbouring countries. More than a million of them are in Turkey (1,772,500) and Lebanon (1,175,000). Another 629,100 have taken refuge in Jordan, 249,600 in Iraq and 134,000 in Egypt.

In 2013, in the face of the Syrian humanitarian disaster, the French President made a pledge to the UNHCR to take in 500 Syrian refugees under resettlement or humanitarian admission programmes. This operation is virtually complete: 477 people have already been taken in by France and 21 should be arriving soon. The pledge was updated in 2015 for at least 500 additional refugees. OFPRA [French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons] and the Interior Ministry conducted missions in Lebanon and Jordan in April to select the people in greatest need. However, this programme accounts for only a fraction of the Syrians granted asylum in France. Nearly 5,500 have obtained France’s protection since 2011.

France has also provided €82 million of aid for Syria and the neighbouring countries in response to the Syria crisis. More than half of this aid is devoted to the countries neighbouring Syria (€42 million), with the aim of improving Syrian refugees’ integration and economic resilience in local communities, for which taking in refugees is a heavy burden.

As regards Iraq, as of 2 July 2015, OFPRA had received 1,485 asylum applications from Iraqi nationals since last summer, relating to 7,217 people. Through a special procedure for people authorized to go to France, OFPRA has been able to exempt the people concerned from additional interviews. This has enabled processing times to be reduced and the granting of rights to be speeded up. As of 29 June 2015, 2,240 of the 7,217 asylum seekers had received a visa and 2,121 Iraqi nationals had arrived in France./.

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