Syrian refugees (2015)

Crisis in Syria and its neighboring countries

Since the start of the civil war in Syria in 2011, the UNHCR has appealed for assistance to the many Syrian refugees. More than 4 million Syrians have fled their country (situation as at 1 August 2015). Thousands of new people arrive every day in its neighboring countries. For some of these refugees, resettlement or humanitarian admission to a third country is the only solution. 

Given that the neighboring countries are facing enormous pressure from migration, the reception conditions are getting worse and people end up in very vulnerable situations: women are at risk of abuse, children lack protection and education, there is insufficient access to medical care and there is a risk of sexual violence… All of this while 76% of the refugees are women and children. 

To this point, more than 25 countries, including Belgium, have responded to the appeal from UNHCR by resettling vulnerable Syrian refugees. In 2015, Belgium will resettle Syrian refugees located in urban areas or in settlements in Lebanon. Lebanon has more than 1 million Syrian refugees (situation as at 1 February 2016).

Source: Information portal on Syrian refugees (UNHCR)

Selection of refugees

The Office of the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons was in March 2015 in Lebanon in order to select a first group of Syrian refugees for resettlement in 2015. During this first mission, the CGRS analysed 38 proposals from the UNHCR, and 122 refugees were selected. These are refugees who have fled the conflict in Syria and are staying in cities or in settlements.

In September the CGRS went to Beirut in Lebanon for the second time, in order to select the second group of Syrian refugees. In total around 110 people were selected, to arrive around the end of 2015.

Fedasil, the federal agency for the reception of asylum seekers, also went to Lebanon for a first meeting with the Syrian refugees. Fedasil carried out a cultural orientation mission to explain different aspects of life in Belgium (school, cost of living, work, healthcare, etc.). 

Arrival of refugees

The Syrian refugees arrived between October 2015 and January 2016. The Syrians are first accomodated in the reception centres managed by Fedasil, before moving to a private housing provided by a Public Social Welfare Centre.