A delegation of four MEPs will go to Jordan on 11-14 February to meet refugees who have fled the conflict in Syria and to see at first hand the conditions on the ground. The MEPs will also talk to local authorities and international organisations working in the field. The aim is to assess the refugee crisis and what help the EU can give to meet these exceptional challenges. The UN Refugee Agency reported a massive increase in arrivals in January.
The Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs delegation visit takes place as Syrian refugees are arriving in unprecedented numbers in Jordan. The UN Refugee Agency says over 242,000 Syrian refugees are registered or awaiting registration in Jordan, and the daily arrivals are expected to increase steadily.
MEPs will visit the main Zaatari refugee camp, 12 km from the Syrian border, the Mafraq transit facility and the Thnebe border crossing. They will also visit registration centres for asylum seekers and make home visits to Syrian refugee families living in Jordan.
The delegation will hold in-depth discussions with the Jordan authorities, international organisations and non-governmental organisations operating in the country.
"I condemn the use of violence against the Syrian civilian population and violations of their human rights. The vast majority of the population in the camps are children and women, who are particularly vulnerable and therefore need special protection", stressed Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, Spain), who is leading the delegation.
"I would like to praise the efforts of Jordan in hosting and providing humanitarian relief to refugees from Syria and I call for an increase in humanitarian support to this end. I urge Jordan to continue granting this invaluable support to the Syrian refugees on its territory and to refrain from expelling or returning any of them to Syria. Jordan should keep the borders open", he added.
The delegation's other members are Hubert Pirker (EPP, Austria), Marian-Jean Marinescu (EPP, Romania) and Judith Sargentini (Greens/EFA, The Netherlands).
Press conference in Amman
A press conference with the delegation is scheduled for Wednesday 13 February at 12.30 local time (10.30 in Brussels). It will take place at the EU delegation in Jordan (Princess Basma St., North Abdoun P.O. Box 852099, Amman 11185).
TV images and photos of the visit to the refugee camp, interviews with MEPs and a summary of the press conference will be made available to audiovisual media on the European Parliament's audiovisual webpage (link to the right).
Coverage on Twitter and Facebook
The delegation will be covered on Twitter and Facebook: programme, quotes from members of the delegation, photos and interviews. This will be done in English at the @EP_Justice account and retweeted in several other languages.
In a European Parliament debate on 12 December 2012, MEPs called on the EU to show solidarity and come to the aid of Syrian refugees, instead of leaving it to Syria's neighbouring countries, including Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt, as well as Jordan, to manage the arrival of asylum seekers alone.
So far, the numbers of applications by Syrian refugees have remained relatively moderate in the EU. Germany, Sweden, Austria, UK, Denmark and Belgium have received most of the asylum applications. In other EU countries the applications have been considerably lower. Some asylum seekers are also trying to enter the EU via the border between Turkey and Greece.
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