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UN: Syrian and Ukrainian refugees are not being treated equally. Where lies the difference
According to the United Nations, more than 300,000 Syrian citizens have lost their lives in the last ten years of the war that is still ravaging the country. The conflict, which began in 2011, is far from over.
In an interview with Euronea, the head of the UN Syria Commission, Paulo Pinheiro, said that these figures, which do not include soldiers, reflect the gravity of the situation.
"Something the report reveals very clearly is the lack of protection of civilians. No faction, no side in the conflict in Syria cares about protecting civilian lives. This is the reality," Pinheiro said.
He also deplored what he said were "depressing" double standards in the reception of refugees, when comparing the treatment received by Syrians and Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion of their homeland in late February.
"There is an openness and generosity towards Ukraine that I don't criticize at all. They deserved it. But I would very much like the same treatment to be applied to Syrian refugees," Pinheiro said.
War crimes in the hands of national courts
Faced with millions of Ukrainians headed for EU member states, the bloc activated a 2001 rule called the Temporary Protection Directive in early March. The law gives Ukrainian refugees and their families who flee the country for one and up to three years residency, health care and the right to work or study.
Despite being affected by war as well, Syrians have never benefited from such a law, not even in the darkest moments of the refugee crisis in 2015.
Asked about the possibility of bringing those responsible for war crimes committed in Syria to international criminal courts, Pinheiro acknowledged that national courts will be the ones to take the lead.