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Jonathan Djanogly raises concerns about Syrian refugees not living in refugee camps


29th April 2014

Jonathan Djanogly raises concerns about Syrian refugees who are living outside of Syria and not in refugee camps - in particular the lack of access to education.

Mr Jonathan Djanogly (Huntingdon) (Con): I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing this debate. I was with him in Syria. I take his important point, which is that we should look at the aid being given within Syria, but there is a third category of those who are out of Syria but outside the camps. In Turkey, there are 600,000 refugees, but only 250,000 are in camps. UNICEF made the point that those outside the camps are not being educated, so in some ways they have many of the problems of those within Syria.

Guy Opperman: I endorse my hon. Friend’s point. We were lucky enough to go to the Nizip 2 camp, which is the gold standard of modern refugee camps, supported as it is by this country and others and by a multitude of aid organisations and charities. It is good at this point to say that we should make it clear that the work of the likes of Oxfam, Amnesty International and all the various charities involved is massively to be applauded. I am sure that the Minister will go on about the £600 million that this country is spending and I endorse and support that. That spending is popular in my constituency. Whether it is expressed by the churches in my constituency or at the pub quiz that I went to on Easter Sunday at the Feathers Inn in Hedley on the Hill, where they raised money for the Syrian refugees, there is a strong view that we are doing the right thing by supporting people in this way.

We saw in Nizip a strongly supported camp. My hon. Friend the Member for Huntingdon (Mr Djanogly) mentioned education. I went round the classrooms there, as several of us did, and saw how those involved were trying to provide education. I met Suleiman, a former engineer in Homs, who is now a teacher of year 6 and 7 children in the camp. He spoke movingly of the family members he had lost and of his desire, one day, to return, and about the difficulties of trying to provide education in a container or a tented camp on the Syrian border.

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