The United Nations refugee agency on Jan. 11 announced a new project to support refugee protection and services for asylum-seekers in Turkey, the country with the largest number of Syrian refugees in the world.
The 21-month long project is being financed by the European Union with 25 million euros under the Facility for Refugees in Turkey, said the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) in a statement.
“The specific objective of this project is to contribute to the protection of refugees and asylum-seekers in Turkey through registration, the provision of protection support, protection monitoring, enhanced communication with communities and strengthened coordination among relevant actors,” it added.
The project will primarily focus on legal aid to refugees in collaboration with the Union of Turkish Bar Associations (UTBA). It will provide access to legal aid services to refugees and asylum-seekers across 18 Turkish provinces, said the UNCHR.
Additionally, “piloting a system for the identification and tracking of cases is planned as are special training courses for lawyers,” according to the UNCHR.
Jane Lewis, the head of EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations in Turkey, stressed that refugees in Turkey have access to a variety of social services, including health and education, via different public institutions.
“The fulfillment of refugee rights and obligations is sometimes made difficult, however, by a lack of information on the legal framework. We attach great importance to this project, which will improve the conditions of vulnerable refugees in Turkey,” said Lewis.
Katharina Lumpp, the UNHCR representative in Turkey, also hailed the project, pointing to Turkey’s efforts to meet refugees’ needs.
“Turkey is generously responding to the needs of a great number of refugees, and such response requires adequate support,” said Lumpp.
“This project provides for a significant contribution for the UNHCR in pursuing its priorities in Turkey. These priorities include strengthening refugee protection by supporting national systems and facilitating access of refugees to services, provided by national and local institutions in Turkey,” she said.
Turkey currently hosts over three million Syrian refugees, more than any other country in the world.