Syrian Crisis & Family Restoration

This guest post is from LL.M. in Human Rights student at Regent Law, Hadil Arusi, a Syrian native.  Her LL.M. Thesis is entitled "The Syrian Crisis: Rights of Refugees in a Visa Regulated World," and this post is a portion of her acknowledgments contained in that thesis.


I started writing this thesis hoping for a change in the world, a change that will give rights to hopeless people and make them believe that there is a light after the darkness. As my dear Professor Kathleen McKee counseled, instead of cursing the dark I decided to light a candle and bring forth light. I have had a great passion for human rights since I was in law school in Syria. This passion continued to grow after the conflict came to my country. People were being killed for no reason. Senseless violence was growing and the darkness seemed to be spreading. I want to be the voice for those who do not have a voice; I want to give a hope to people who have lost hope. My parents raised me to help others and give back to society. That was my primary goal when I started this thesis. Syria used to be a very beautiful country. My brothers and I had dreams of building a future there in order to make our parents proud. Now, Syria's cities lay in ruins and millions are being forced to leave the country, their memories, and their very families.

As I watched my country's decent into darkness I looked around at all those who were helpless. I heard the heartbreaking stories of friends, people I grew up with, who perished in the sea. I wondered why no one would stand up to help them. I questioned why no one seemed to care about the suffering of these people. It is inherent in the nature of a community to help others and in return receive help. The people and countries of the world call themselves a community and yet they are failing to have compassion on the most desperate people. My secondary goal when I began this thesis was to spread awareness about the plight of the Syrian refugee. I believe that people have the heart to help and support each other. We are all part of humanity and we should care about each other. God expects us to love our neighbors because He is love. This is the duty of all mankind.
This project was extraordinarily hard on me. Many times while I was writing this thesis I would stop and I believed that I could not continue writing any further. When I would see pictures of children dying, their parents crying over them, hospitals, schools, and cities being destroyed I would become overwhelmed with pain, fear, and grief. I love my Syria. It hurts me to watch its people suffer, but the hardest part of this whole process was being separated from my father. He is the one who I most wish to be safe. He is the true inspiration for my pursuit of the study of law and of human rights. Through every hard time and through every tear-filled day I had the support of God, my family, and dear friends at Regent University. Being part of Regent University School of Law has been a great privilege for me. I never felt alone with the difficulties I had both emotionally and academically. I was surrounded by great professors and fellow students who gave me the strength to continue and encouraged me to do the best I can while letting God take care of the matters outside my control.

Hadil offers her gratitude to the many here at Regent who supported her in this thesis in the remainder of her acknowledgment, but you can read her entire thesis at The Syrian Crisis. Rights of Refugees in a Visa Regulated World. What follows is an abstract of that thesis.


The Syrian conflict has been raging for more than five years and it is now the world's largest humanitarian crisis since World War II.[1] The Syrian refugees are now the largest group of refugees from a single conflict.[2] Millions of Syrians, who managed to survive the deadly conflict, have either been internally displaced or have sought asylum abroad. Also, much of the infrastructure has been devastated during this crisis. Many schools, hospitals, and industries have either been destroyed or are out of service. This fighting, destruction, and death inside Syria continues to explode and shift while the suffering of the people worsens. Those who wish to flee the violence and persecution must seek refuge in other countries. The international community is obligated to protect and assist refugees. Turkey has accepted more Syrian refugees than any other country,[3] but it is failing to protect and ensure the human rights of these refugees.[4] There are simply too many people fleeing Syria for Turkey to be able to properly protect and provide for all of them. Therefore, many refugees seek passage into Europe. By not having strict observations on the borders, Turkey has allowed smugglers to endanger the lives of these refugees.[5] Many of these smugglers send them across the sea to Greece on dangerous inflatable boats and precarious barges.[6]
The main reason that Syrians are forced to seek refuge by the unsafe sea route is the strict visa policies of the European countries.[7] These policies usually lead to entire groups of people being denied travel visas when they apply through the legal route.[8] Because the neighboring and European countries are unwilling to deal with this crisis, there is no other way for people to leave Syria and Turkey.[9]
This paper's purpose is to open the eyes of the reader to the largest humanitarian crisis since WWII. It will expose the failure of the international community to protect and ensure the rights of refugees. It will also call on Turkey and the international community to care for the refugees and provide them with the full measure of their rights. This paper will also propose an amendment protocol to the 1951 Convention for the Protection of Refugees.

Read her entire thesis here.  Family destruction, rather than restoration, is at the heart of the Syrian Crisis.

[1] Echo FactSheet, Syria Crisis, Ec.Euorpa.Eu, 1 (Mar. 2016), http://ec.europa.eu/echo/files/aid/countries/factsheets/syria_en.pdf.
[2] Press Release, The UN Refugee Agency, Statement by UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres on refugee crisis in Europe, U.N. Press Release UNHCR(Sept. 4, 2015).
[3] Echo FactSheet, supra note 1, at 2
[4] EU-Turkey Summit: Don't wash hands of refugee rights, Amnesty Int'l (Mar. 7, 2016. 12:01 AM), https://www.amnesty.org/en/press-releases/2016/03/eu-turkey-summit-refugees/.
[5] Tim Arango, Turkey Moves to Clamp Down on Border, Long a Revolving Door, N.Y. Times, Dec. 22, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/23/world/europe/turkey-border-refugees.html?_r=1.
[6] Jillian Kay Melchior, Who Benefits from Syria's Refugee Crisis: Human Smugglers, National
Review, Oct. 26, 2015, 4:00 AM, http://www.nationalreview.com/article/426046/human-smugglers-profit-syrian-refugee-crisis.
[7] See: James C. Hathaway, The Rights Of Refugees Under International Law, Cambridge Univ. Press 291, 293 (2005). "Rather than relying on physical interdiction, it is more common for states to seek to avoid the arrival of refugees by the adoption of relatively invisible non-entrée policies. In essence, the goal of these mechanisms is to implement legal norms which have the effect of preventing refugees from even reaching the point of being able to present their case for protection to asylum state authorities." "The classic mechanism of non-entrée is to impose a visa requirement on the nationals of genuine refugee-producing countries [such as Syria], enforced by sanctions against any carrier that agrees to transport a person without a visa." "The European Council now requires all member states to impose visas on the nationals of some 131 countries- including, for example, such refugee producing countries as Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Sudan."
[8] Lampugnano, If Smugglers are so Dangerous Why do Syrians Contact and Pay Them?, Sirian In Transito (April 30, 2015), http://www.sirianintransito.com/?p=468.
[9] Id.

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