To understand the situation that forced millions of Syrians to leave their country and seek for another shelter, the Ateneo Migration Center (AMC) in collaboration with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) initiated a forum entitled “Syrian Refugee Crisis: Explained” yesterday, Sept. 2, at Room F213, Finster Hall.
Peter Deck, UNHCR’s head of Mindanao operations, led the discussion. John Harvey Gamas, chair of International Studies Department, Ramon Beleno III, chair of Political Science and History Department, and Dr. Anderson Villa, a faculty member, shared their analysis on the situation.
According to Deck, the crisis started when a civil war erupted four years ago. The presence of different groups, each with different political interests, worsened the situation. Helpless, many Syrians decided to flee and move to neighboring countries.
“More than three quarters of all refugees and Internally Displaced People (IDPs) are women and children. And these are most vulnerable sectors,” Deck emphasized.
He added that the refugee crisis calls for an increase solidarity, intervention and responsibility-sharing.
Furthermore, he informed everyone that the United Nations and other international organizations are already addressing the issue.
Mildred Estanda, director of Ateneo Migration Center, reminded the audience that similar crisis is also present in the Philippines that warrants attention.
“There is a higher number of people who are internally displaced not only in Syria but also here in the Philippines, especially in Mindanao who also needs our help,” she said.