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.

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