Daniel Kawczynski – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department for International Development

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Daniel Kawczynski on 2016-02-19.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps the Government is taking to assist vulnerable Syrian minorities register with the UNHCR who have not done so due to fear of persecution.

Mr Desmond Swayne

At the "Supporting Syria and the Region London 2016" Conference on 4 February more than US$11 billion was pledged to support people in Syria and the region affected by the conflict. This is the largest amount raised in one day for a humanitarian crisis. The UK remains at the forefront of the response to the crisis in Syria and the region. We have doubled our commitment and have now pledged a total more than £2.3 billion, our largest ever response to a single humanitarian crisis.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is mandated to lead and coordinate international action to protect refugees. Any person claiming refugee status is able to avail themselves of UNHCR’s global protection mandate where UNHCR has a presence. They can directly approach UNHCR and register with them, or be referred to UNHCR by a third organisation, or UNHCR can ask them to register. The UK has allocated £115 million to UNHCR’s operations in Syria and the surrounding region, of which a proportion is used for registration.

Over time, many previously unregistered refugees have sought UNHCR’s assistance and protection services as their resources have dwindled and coping mechanisms become stretched. Some minority groups may not see a need to register either due to their own resources or due to reliance on community/social networks.

DFID continues to work with the UN and the international community to ensure all minorities’ rights are protected and our aid reaches those in greatest need.