MOSCOW, November 20 (Sputnik) — Turkey has largely been left alone by the international community to deal with the stream of Syrian refugees into the country and must shoulder most of the financial burden in housing them, while the world's wealthiest countries are denying the refugees access to their territories, Amnesty International said Thursday.
"The response of the international community to the Syrian refugee crisis has been an abject failure, with hopes of safety and security for most refugees cruelly denied," the organization said in a report.
"Turkey has contributed significantly not only in terms of the numbers of refugees it hosts but also the financial resources it has committed to receiving them. Yet more than three years after refugees from Syria started to arrive and despite the evolving policies of the Turkish authorities, a growing number of Syrian refugees in Turkey are struggling to survive," the report reads.
Turkey has declared an open door policy for Syrian refugees and says it has spent some $4 billion on aid to displaced persons from Syria.
According to Turkish authorities, the country has taken in an estimated 1.6 million Syrian refugees. Only some 220,000 of them are living at refugee camps, Amnesty International said, noting that Turkey's response to the Syrian refugee crisis is straining, despite significant resource commitments and positive policy initiatives.
The report stated that "the world's most prosperous countries are failing Syrian refugees", both with their inadequate funding and unwillingness to meet pledges for resettlement. The United Nations has received only 51 percent of its $3.74 billion funding request for 2014, aimed at financing programs to assist Syrian refugees, Amnesty International noted.
The organization lashed out at the European Union, stating that the 130,000 refugees Turkey received in September is already more than the 28-member bloc has received over the past three years.
Canada, "which had resettled 60,000 Indo-Chinese refugees in 18 months in 1979-1980," pledged a total of 200 resettlement places for Syrian refugees, but "by October 2014, three and a half years into the crisis, it was unclear if even this appallingly low target had been met", the report read.
Some 97 percent of Syria's refugees are hosted by Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. Turkey's response to the situation has in many respects been impressive, Amnesty International said, however, its policy of denying entry to refugees without passports forces Syrians to use irregular entry points and puts both the refugees' lives and the border security at risk.
The organization said it had recorded 17 cases of people being killed by border guards at unofficial crossings at the Syria-Turkey border between December 2013 and August 2014, and stated that many refugees have been ill-treated and forced to return to war-torn Syria.
The Syrian civil war began in 2011 following anti-government uprisings. Syrian authorities are fighting a number of insurgent groups, including Islamic State extremists. According to UN estimates, the conflict has claimed some 200,000 lives, while 3.2 million people have been forced to flee the country, 6.5 million are internally displaced and 10.8 million are in need of humanitarian assistance.