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An urgent letter on the dreadful life situation of the refugees in Turkey

Antonio Guterres

The Secretary of United Nations

– Klaus Welle          

The General Secretary of the European Union Parliament 

An urgent letter on the dreadful life situation of the refugees in Turkey

,                                                                                                                                   Date: 16/04/2019

 I am writing to complain about the conditions the Syrian and Iraqi refugees are living in Turkey.  As IFIR Turkey Representative reports have shown that all Refugees generally and the Iraqi and Syrian refugees specifically are living under unbearable conditions in Turkey.  Refugees who have applied for asylum at UNHCR in Ankara are being moved to different cities across Turkey.  They are deprived from Human of basic needs. Among these refugees are a considerable number of children, women and people with special needs. The decision of the UNHCR to stop registering people applying for asylum on 10.09.2018 and delivering all its duties of asylum procedures to the Turkish immigration office has brought the refugees to a humanitarian crisis.

We ask you to consider and act on the following concerns:

  1. The refugees who have not had their first appointment and those who are waiting to be removed to third countries will have to wait for a long unknown period of time during waiting for their applications to be processed. 

 2. The UNHCR is no longer taking care of the refugees, this has created a huge financial problem for the refugees and their families.

3. Thousands of refugees registered by the UNHCR are being moved to different cities across 

4. Turkey has told the refugees they are not allowed to move and travel without the permission of the immigration office. Bus and train terminals have been told not to sell them tickets if they do not have permission from the immigration office. 

5. They have no health insurance and they have to pay a lot of money when they visit hospitals and clinics, not to mention the costs of the medicines.

  6. They are not allowed to work, while many families need a source of finance to provide health care for their children and family members with special needs. The UNHCR is deaf and blind to helping these people

7. UNHCR is not answering any enquiries from the refugees when asked, they say“ we can not do anything “ or they tell the people to visit the Immigration Office. When the refugees go to the Turkish Immigration office, they are told that the Immigration office is processing the application and has no idea when a decision will be made. The UNHCR has sent messages to the refugees mobile saying, they have to go to the Immigration Office and make their claims there and UNHCR cannot do anything anymore.

8.  If their claim is refused, they are under threats of deportation. Some immigration offices have told the refugees to ask for a tourist visa otherwise they will be deported. Without listening to them or the reasons why they have left their country and become refugees, they are forced to choose an option between a tourist stay or deportation. The refugees cases are no longer processed by UNHCR but by the Immigration office of Turkey and we ask the UNHCR to reopen their doors and give urgent interviews to these refugees as soon as possible.

9. Turkey sees the situation as a security matter and does not consider the refugees human rights.   Turkey is not a safe place for the refugees, due to this treatment both criminality and suicide have increased amongst the refugee community.  There has also been an increase in people attempting to flee to Europe illegally, both by sea via ramshackle yachts or travelling under lorries putting their own and their families lives at risk. 

10.   The following categories of people need to be given urgent interviews, people who are sick or disabled and women experiencing domestic violence or honour threats from their family.

 We send you this letter to ask that you:

  1. Instruct the UNHCR in Turkey to resume its work helping refugees
  2. To open the doors of UNHCR again for the registration of new refugees, direct processing applications, providing them with food and health care, giving them work permissions, free movement rights within Turkey and releasing all detained refugees.  
  3. Enabling flight departure for the refugees who have been given asylum in the third countries   4. Call on European countries to accept their responsibility and offer refugees a permanent home. 

We are awaiting your reply and your practical steps towards solving these problems and improving the lives of the refugees in Turkey.

Yours faithfully,

Dashty Jamal


General Secretary of International Federation of Iraqi Refugees (IFIR)

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