Let Them In! Syrian Refugee Crisis And Asylum In Tunisia

PO4002 Group Presentations

The Current State of the Syrian Refugee Crisis

The aim of this paper is to discuss and elaborate on the mock campaign titled ‘Let them in!’ This campaign has been designed keeping in mind the grave issue of Syrian refugee crisis owing to the perpetual conflict in conflict in Syria leading to the large-scale displacement of people from their homeland. The campaign has began to request Tunisia to act as an asylum for Syria. The motivation behind selecting Tunisia as a country for providing asylum can be attributed to the fact that Tunisia have shown benevolence towards the refugee crisis by embracing an open-door policy for people who have faced persecution and fled from conflict. Therefore, this paper contextualizes the refugee crisis in Syria, the current challenges plaguing the refugees in the 21st c, the aims and strategies of the campaign, critical examination of the campaign and the objectives of our group in addressing the issue, and finally the position of this campaign within the wider context of the human rights movement.

Studies have shown that Syrian civil war that commenced on March 15, 2011 have led to the brutal sufferings of family and genocide of thousands of people. The Syrian civil war have wrecked havoc on the social fabric of the nation and have led to extreme regression of standards of living for the people. Currently, there are 13. 1 million refugees that have been generated to the Syrian crisis and they are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. An estimate shows that more than 5.6 million people have fled the country and now they have been termed as refugees (Sharara and Kanj 2014). More than 6.1 million people are displaced within the geographical region of the country therefore, turning them into Internally displaced People (IDPs) (Acarturk et al. 2015). More than half of the population who have been affected due to the Syrian civil war are women and children. The perpetual state of war have led to the destruction of schools, utilities, hospitals, healthcare centres, historical landmarks, marketplace and other public institutions. The civil war commenced as a result of the atrocious military repression that was aimed to curbing down the protests similar to that of the Arab Spring that spawned all over Syria. In August 2012, UNHRC found that Syria have committed gross violation of human rights that includes war crimes like rape, maiming of children, genocide, bombing and so on. In the year 2013, it was reported that there were 1 million Syrian refugees (Ruys 2014). There were reports of chemical attacks perpetrated on the citizens by the President if the country, Assad. By the end of September 2013, it was found that there were 2 million Syrian refugees a huge leap from the 1 million estimated in March in the same year (Hokayem 2014). With the increase of the Syrian refugee population and the scenario of refugees fleeing into the territories of the neighbouring countries, the latter started taking action by blocking the channels of communication for the refugees. One such country is Hungary that erected a wall in the year 2015 by closing its border to the Syrian refugees, thus closing the path for Syrian refugees to enter into Europe (De Juan and Bank 2015). On the other hand, Jordan and Lebanon two countries that provide asylum to the Syrian refugees since the inception of the war had to strike down on the ration for food due to the shortfall in funding. In 2016, US and Russia jointly exercised temporary cessation of the refugees therefore, leading to  a condition where thousands of Syrian refugees were trapped in their homeland without any aid. By the year 2015, the number of Syrian refugees who have fled the conflict zone of rose to 5 million and more than 58 people were killed in the gas attack.  In the present context of 2018, the civil war continues to operate and affect the lives of millions of Syrian nationals despite the hope of de-escalation (El-Khatib, Scales, Vearey and Forsberg 2013). A glaring number of 2.9 million people are confined in the hard-to-reach zones where it is difficult to provide aid facilities (Dahi 2014). March 2018 marks the eighth year of the Syrian civil war.

Challenges Faced by Syrian Refugees

The current challenges plaguing the Syrian refugees are that there are 74 cases of polio detected in Syria which is a pity considering that Syria was a polio-free region before the onset of the civil war. In 2017, it was reported that conflict is intensifying in the northwestern part of Syria as an estimate of 212,000 million have fled the country since mid-December 2017. A large number of internally displaced people are living in makeshift shelters having little access to aid. Since the war the broke out, an estimate of 470,000 people have been wiped out in the war and more than 55,000 children have been brutally killed. Currently, 7 per cent of the Syrian population is deprived of access to the portable and 95 per cent of the population do not have access to basic healthcare facilities (Aras. and Mencutek 2015).

In the backdrop of the complexity of problems of the Syrian refugees, the aim of this campaign is to convince the various trustees belonging to the Refugee Council, UNHCR and the President of Roma to convince in accepting the refugees in Tunisia. He objective of the campaign is to allow the Syrian refugees to allow n Tunisia and not prevent them from accessing the territory of the country. We aim to generate awareness regarding the thrust of our cause and engage in lobbying to push for the cause. We also plan to adopt the techniques of persuasion and exert civil pressure to create influence on the state action for formalities as tactics for attaining success through the campaign. The central policies of the campaign is to push for campaign for practise and not for change. Our group, Syrian2Tunisia aims to provide safe and dignified living conditions for the Syrian refugees in Tunisia as the war has reached its eighth anniversary recently and yet the number of the refugee population continue to rise. People who have fled to the countries are subjected to harrowing conditions. The rationale behind selecting Tunisia as the location as it has perpetually maintained an open-door policy towards the refugees. Tunisia has the ability to provide the refugees with asylum seeker status and fulfil their fundamental needs of schooling and healthcare facilities. However, the problem with Tunisia is that it lacks adequate financial strength and in need of funding. Tunisia faces the problem of providing a comprehensive asylum system to the refugees i the absence of a national law on refugees. In addition, refugees who have been officially recognized by the UNHCR, lack the necessary documents pertaining to residency and therefore, the refugees feeling to Tunisia are faced with these challenges. Syrians in Tunisia were well maintained till the issue of funding emerged that culminated to limited access to the basic needs, insufficient supply of the resources that has precluded UNHCR and other stakeholders in engaging in the outreach activities therefore, further making these refugees vulnerable to livelihood assistance. Since financial burden is the issue, the objective of Syrian2Tunisia would be to exhort the European union in identifying these urgent problems and demand for provision of funding to the Tunisian government, so that the government feels motivated to extend its assistance towards the people. We strive to work for institutional policy that can be embraced by the Tunisian government and lead to the establishment of a new law that would promote the asylum seekers to settle down peacefully. We aim to collaborate with the UNHCR to guide the Tunisian administration in the process of welcoming the refugees. We also aim to create public awareness about the plight of the refugees and about the asylum seekers. Our objective is to ensure that that the process of welcoming of the refugees is don through the collaboration with organization and that the values are reinforced. We also plan to develop training programs that would facilitate in the accommodation of the Syrian refuges. The highlight of this campaign will be that we will foster change and progress by taking into resolution that the plans will be implemented in accordance with the interests of the refugees. We will use the influence f the trustees to generate momentum regarding our campaign. The influencing strategy of the campaign will be involving the civil servants who will be able to use their influence and reach out to a wider audience.


Since refugee crisis in Syria is a global issue the aim would be to involve the members of the EU nations and implement the EU charter for seeking the fundamental rights of the refugees. Through the implementation of this campaign, we feel that many other countries like Tunisia would be encouraged to accept refugees in their countries. Private partners and NGOs will also be called on-board to facilitate the cause of the campaign.


Acarturk, C., Konuk, E., Cetinkaya, M., Senay, I., Sijbrandij, M., Cuijpers, P. and Aker, T., 2015. EMDR for Syrian refugees with posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms: Results of a pilot randomized controlled trial. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 6(1), p.27414.

Aras, N.E.G. and Mencutek, Z.S., 2015. The international migration and foreign policy nexus: the case of Syrian refugee crisis and Turkey. Migration letters, 12(3), p.193.

Berti, B. and Paris, J., 2014. Beyond sectarianism: geopolitics, fragmentation, and the syrian civil war. Strategic Assessment, 16(4), pp.21-34.

Carpenter, T.G., 2013. Tangled web: The Syrian civil war and its implications. Mediterranean Quarterly, 24(1), pp.1-11.

Dahi, O., 2014. The refugee crisis in Lebanon and Jordan: the need for economic development spending. Forced Migration Review, (47), p.11.

De Juan, A. and Bank, A., 2015. The Ba ‘athist blackout? Selective goods provision and political violence in the Syrian civil war. Journal of Peace Research, 52(1), pp.91-104.

Ruys, T., 2014. Of arms, funding and “non-lethal assistance”—issues surrounding third-state intervention in the Syrian Civil War. Chinese Journal of International Law, 13(1), pp.13-53.

Hokayem, E., 2014. Iran, the Gulf States and the Syrian civil war. Adelphi Papers, 54(447-448), pp.39-70.

El-Khatib, Z., Scales, D., Vearey, J. and Forsberg, B.C., 2013. Syrian refugees, between rocky crisis in Syria and hard inaccessibility to healthcare services in Lebanon and Jordan.Conflict and health, 7(1), p.18.

Sharara, S.L. and Kanj, S.S., 2014. War and infectious diseases: challenges of the Syrian civil war. PLoS Pathogens,10(11), p.e1004438.

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