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Joint response from the G20 engagement groups to the refugee crisis   TEPAV Executive Director Güven Sak signs the communiqué as T20 Chair
Haber resmi
14/11/2015 - Viewed 922 times

The G20 engagement groups representing the business world (B20), academia, (T20), civil society (C20), workers and labor unions (L20), women (W20) and young people (Y20) have released a communiqué on the refugee crisis. The communiqué, signed by TEPAV Executive Director Güven Sak as the T20 Chair, calls for “support on development programs in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey, which host the majority of Syrian refugees.”

The communiqué was announced at a press conference at the media centre prior to the G20 Leaders’ Summit.

The communiqué notes the deep concern over the refugee crisis, expressing the need for stronger collective action on the issue.

Pointing out that the engagement groups will call on the heads of state and government due to attend the G20 Leaders’ Summit “to endorse development programs in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey, which host the majority of Syrian refugees,” the communiqué notes:

"It is of grave importance that the steps to be taken by the G20 in this regard go beyond humanitarian aid and include medium- to long-term economic support for the countries they reside in. Thanks to its structure, geopolitical and economic influence, and focus on economic coordination, the G20 is in the best position to provide such support. The leaders of the countries ranking among the biggest economies of the world bear the responsibility to take action for a solution to the current situation.”

Agenda items required from the G20 in the communiqué are as follows:

The G20 should

-  recognize the refugees’ right to work and take action in order to materialize that right

-  In the spirit of international solidarity, take responsibility for the resettlement of the refugees that were forced to flee to neighboring countries in a fair distribution

- Guide the World Bank, the United Nations and other international organizations to cooperate with the employment programs of regional and national institutions creating employment opportunities for refugees, hence supporting their integration

- Cooperate with the national organizations in countries hosting the refugees to initiate and finance skill building programs to improve the capacities of refugees

- Take concrete steps to encourage new and innovative economic activities that will benefit both refugees and the host societies

- Increase funding to meet the needs of refugees and support the social protection programs in host countries

- Invest in basic social services like education and health to alleviate the burden of the social services in host countries, while supporting deeper integration for refugees. Turkey, the 2015 president of G20, hosts the biggest refugee population of the world, most of whom have been residing within its borders for years now.”

- Call for a solution to the refugee issue

TOBB Chair Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu said in a statement during the meeting that the world is facing its biggest refugee crisis since World War II.

Stressing that half of the refugees fleeing Syria now reside in Turkey, which is compelled to try and solve the issue relying on its own means, Hisarcıklıoğlu said "The refugee crisis is a global issue and we need to solve it altogether”

T20 Chair Güven Sak also underscored the need for international solidarity for the resolution of the refugee issue.

Türk-İş Chair Ergün Atalay also said that trade unions have undersigned a joint communiqué on the refugee crisis.

Expressing his sentiments as "Syrian refugees are our guests, and we are not bothered by their presence,” Atalay said that the trade unions in Turkey are striving to make a contribution for the betterment of the refugee crisis.

Atalay said that their top agenda item at the G20 was the refugee problem, which was then replaced by the issue of terrorism due to the terrorist acts in Paris. "If a country faces terrorism, the economy becomes irrelevant. The leaders here in our country today must find a solution to the issue of terrorism and refugees,” Atalay said.

C20 Chair Zeynep Bodur Okyay, on the other hand, said "The refugees need our help. We really expect the G20 leaders to provide us with political support. This is a problem for not just governments but also the business world. The G20 countries should transform their strategies in this area from short-term to long-term solutions.”

International Trade Unions Confederation (ITUC) Secretary-General Sharan Burrow recalled that she had visited the refugee camps, adding that she thanked officials for Turkey’s hospitality towards refugees.

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