European Social Democrats visit the Jordanian Zaatari refugee camp at border with Syria
PES Vice-President Jan Royall and Vice-President of the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) Group in the European Parliament, Libor Rou?ek shared a fact finding mission to the Zaatari refugee camp in northern Jordan on 15 November 2012 with Inés Ayala Sender MEP and Emilio Menéndez del Valle MEPs. The camp was set up to accommodate the thousands fleeing the conflict in Syria. Representatives of civil society including the European network of Social NGOs, Solidar were also present in Zaatari to facilitate the mission.
The visiting representatives were told that more than 42,000 refugees are now living in the U.N.-run Zaatari desert camp. The number of the Syrian refugees fleeing the conflict in the neighboring countries has been rising sharply over the last months due to the deterioration of the situation in Syria. The living conditions in the refugee camp are increasingly difficult due to the current inability to deal with the growing numbers.
The PES and the S&D Group representatives strongly condemned the brutal oppression of the Syrian regime and urged an immediate end to the use of force and the indiscriminate killing of civilians. They said that the time has come for Assad to step down and for Syria to enter into a political transition towards democracy, based on national dialogue involving all actors and segments of society. The European social democrats support the endeavors of UN representative Lakhdar Brahimi in finding a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis.
Jan Royall, PES Vice-President, said: “I call on members of the international community to take on their responsibilities. They must do all they can to stop the massacre in Syria. Every day, waves of innocent people are obliged to leave their homes to escape outright war. The PES reiterates its call for an immediate end to the fighting in Syria as a precondition for a peaceful transition to a genuine democracy based on national dialogue and reconciliation”.
Libor Rou?ek, Vice-President of the S&D Group, added: “I welcome the brave efforts undertaken by the Jordanian authorities, their partners, the NGOs, the local population and the international community at large to provide assistance to the Syrian refugees. It is clear that the camp still needs massive international funding and supply, particularly in the coming weeks with winter approaching. The Syrian crisis is reverberating into neighboring countries, not only in Jordan but also in Lebanon and Turkey. It is essential to help improve the conditions for humanitarian access and assistance to the refugees in the whole region”.
This field visit took place within the framework of the two-day conference: “Middle East and North Africa: Building partnerships for social and economic development” held in Amman on 13 and 14 November. It was organized by the Global Progressive Forum and Solidar with the support of the PES and the S&D Group as a follow up of the Tunis Declaration adopted on the occasion of the international conference: “A new progressive agenda for a new Arab world” held on 30 March 2012.