UNHCR welcomes Turkey's new law on asylum

Briefing Notes, 12 April 2013

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 12 April 2013, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

The High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres welcomes new legislation, the Law on Foreigners and International Protection, recently adopted by the Turkish Government, as a reflection of Turkey's strong commitment to humanitarian values and principles.

UNHCR, which has supported the drafting process, considers this an important advancement for international protection, and for Turkey itself, which has a long history of offering protection for people in need.

The new law incorporates key elements of international humanitarian and human rights law. It provides for the establishment, under the Ministry of the Interior, of a specialized institution to manage international protection. This institution will also prepare the implementing regulations over the next year.

During this transition period and beyond, UNHCR will continue to extend its support and expertise to the Turkish authorities in advancing this legal framework and its full implementation. Today, Turkey is hosting 34,576 asylum seekers and refugees originating from Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and Somalia. In addition, Turkey is hosting 293,000 Syrian refugees. Half are residing in 17 camps in nine provinces while the remaining are in urban settings. Three more refugee camps are under construction. Turkey was one of the first countries to adopt a temporary protection status for Syrian refugees.

For further information on this topic, please contact:

  • In Ankara, Selin Unal on mobile +90 532 273 3702
  • In Geneva: Sybella Wilkes on mobile +41 79 557 9138
• DONATE NOW •

 

• GET INVOLVED • • STAY INFORMED •

UNHCR country pages

Asylum-Seekers

UNHCR advocates fair and efficient procedures for asylum-seekers

Asylum and Migration

Asylum and Migration

All in the same boat: The challenges of mixed migration around the world.

Statistics

Numbers are important in the aid business and UNHCR's statisticians monitor them daily.

Zero-Star "Hotel" that Asylum-Seekers Call Home in Dijon

France is one of the main destinations for asylum-seekers in Europe, with some 55,000 new asylum applications in 2012. As a result of the growing number of applicants, many French cities are facing an acute shortage of accommodation for asylum-seekers.

The government is trying to address the problem and, in February 2013, announced the creation of 4,000 additional places in state-run reception centres for asylum-seekers. But many asylum-seekers are still forced to sleep rough or to occupy empty buildings. One such building, dubbed the "Refugee Hotel" by its transient population, lies on the outskirts of the eastern city of Dijon. It illustrates the critical accommodation situation.

The former meat-packing plant is home to about 100 asylum-seekers, mostly from Chad, Mali and Somalia, but also from Georgia, Kosovo and other Eastern European countries. Most are single men, but there are also two families.

In this dank, rat-infested empty building, the pipes leak and the electricity supply is sporadic. There is only one lavatory, two taps with running water, no bathing facilities and no kitchen. The asylum-seekers sleep in the former cold-storage rooms. The authorities have tried to close the squat several times. These images, taken by British photographer Jason Tanner, show the desperate state of the building and depict the people who call it home.

Zero-Star "Hotel" that Asylum-Seekers Call Home in Dijon

Beyond the Border

In 2010, the Turkish border with Greece became the main entry point for people attempting by irregular methods to reach member states of the European Union, with over 132,000 arrivals. While some entered as migrants with the simple wish of finding a better life, a significant number fled violence or persecution in countries such as Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iraq and Somalia. The journey is perilous, with many reports of drowning when people board flimsy vessels and try to cross the Mediterranean Sea or the River Evros on the border between Greece and Turkey. The many deficiencies in the Greek asylum system are exacerbated by the pressure of tens of thousands of people awaiting asylum hearings. Reception facilities for new arrivals, including asylum-seekers, are woefully inadequate. Last year, UNHCR visited a number of overcrowded facilities where children, men and women were detained in cramped rooms with insufficient facilities. UNHCR is working with the Greek government to improve its asylum system and has called upon other European states to offer support.

Beyond the Border

Muazzez Ersoy

Muazzez Ersoy

Italy: Mediterranean RescuePlay 

video

Italy: Mediterranean Rescue

The Italy Navy rescues hundreds of migrants and asylum seekers on the high seas as the numbers of people undertaking the crossing of the Mediterranean from North Africa grows.
Too Much Pain: The Voices of Refugee Women, part 1/6Play 

video

Too Much Pain: The Voices of Refugee Women, part 1/6

Stories of refugee women who have undergone Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and are engaged to end this practice. These women explain their experiences of flight, asylum and integration in the EU.
Italy: Waiting for AsylumPlay 

video

Italy: Waiting for Asylum

Sicily has a high number of asylum-seekers because of its location in the south of Italy. In 2011, Cara Mineo was set up to provide asylum-seekers with a place to live while their applications were processed. Today, more than 4,000 people stay there and must wait up to a year for a decision on their applications.