Durbin to Chair Hearing on Ongoing Syrian Refugee Crisis

2.3 Million Refugees Have Fled Civil War; Worst Refugee Crisis Since Rwanda in 1994

Washington, D.C. – Assistant Majority Leader and Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, Dick Durbin (D-IL) announced today that he will hold a hearing on the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis on Tuesday, January 7, 2014. The hearing will be held at 2:30pm in room 226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington.


The hearing will focus on the plight of Syrian refugees fleeing the violent civil war in their home country. Approximately 2.3 million Syrian refugees have fled the country since the outbreak of the civil war, a number projected to reach 3.5 million by the end of the year.  According to the UN High Commissioner on Refugees, it is the worst refugee crisis since the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Of these refugees, three-quarters are women and children, including 1.1 million children.


The hearing will examine the scope of the humanitarian crisis, including significant obstacles to humanitarian assistance and challenges facing host nations. The hearing will also focus on the prospects for the United States accepting Syrian refugees.  UNHCR is seeking to resettle approximately 40,000 particularly vulnerable refugees in FY 2014.  The United States typically accepts about half of resettled refugees. The hearing will explore additional steps Congress and the Administration should take to address the Syrian refugee crisis.


Witnesses will be announced at a later date. The hearing will be webcast at www.judiciary.senate.gov.