UN to adopt a plan to house 400,000 Syrians

 Nearly 300,000 migrants are housed inside Turkey with 26 government-run camps like this one.  Over the coming days the European Union and Turkey hope to reach a comprehensive agreement, and make funds available to Turkey, to help tackle large scale migration spurred by conflicts in Syria and beyond.  (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Nearly 300,000 migrants are housed inside Turkey with 26 government-run camps like this one. Over the coming days the European Union and Turkey hope to reach a comprehensive agreement, and make funds available to Turkey, to help tackle large scale migration spurred by conflicts in Syria and beyond. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said he will ask countries to step forward and agree to take in another 400,000 Syrian refugees. On his first visit to Washington since being appointed to head the UN refugee effort, Filippo Grandi said the world must do more to end the crisis.

“On March 30, I’m going to chair a meeting in Geneva at which I ask the international community to take 10 percent of all the Syrian refugees,” he said.

“Ten percent is a lot of people. It’s more than 400,000 people,” he told reporters, on the fifth anniversary of Syria’s civil war.

More than four million Syrians have fled their war-torn country since the conflict erupted, and more than six million are displaced within its borders, which created a political and humanitarian crisis in Europe and in neighbouring Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan as well.

Canada and Germany have been praised for stepping up to welcome tens of thousands as refugees, but others, including the United States, have been criticized, amid it’s presedintial election atmosphere.

US President Barack Obama ordered that 10,000 be admitted during the 2016 fiscal year, but half-way through the period only 1,115 have been processed.

But he lamented the tone of the debate in both the US and Europe, where anti-immigration politicians have claimed that terrorists hide among Muslim refugees.

Grandi complained that on a visit to the European parliament he had heard “language we haven’t heard since the 30s” from opponents of resettlement.

But he added that the new 400,000 target figure could be met in part by means short of the full resettlement package that the United States offer.

Rather than providing Syrian refugees with new lives and permanent residence, some countries may offer temporary jobs, scholarships or humanitarian visas.

For this, he said, his office would work with private firms and universities in partnership with states, to try to reduce the pressure on Syria’s neighbors.

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