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12 April 2013 - The United Nations refugee agency today welcomed a new Turkish law on foreigners as an important advancement for international protection and pledged continued backing to the authorities as they implement it.
The law incorporates key elements of international humanitarian and human rights law, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Spokesperson Melissa Fleming told a news briefing in Geneva, stressing that High Commissioner António Guterres welcomes it 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,” she said.
The Law on Foreigners and International Protection, recently adopted by the Government, 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,” Ms. Fleming said.
Today, Turkey is hosting 34,576 asylum-seekers and refugees originating from Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and Somalia, in addition to 293,000 Syrian refugees who have fled from the conflict in their homeland.
Half the Syrians are residing in 17 camps in nine provinces while the others 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.