Notes from the Field: The Syrian Refugee Crisis

To bring awareness to the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis, one of the largest humanitarian crises since World War II, BAIL with the Center for Accountability (CJA) brought together Bay Area experts who have worked first-hand with Syrian refugees in the Middle East and Southern Europe at WeWork SoMa in mid-October. 

Daniel McLaughlin, Senior Staff Attorney at the Center for Justice and Accountability, moderated a lively discussion that traversed personal stories, and unfiltered accounts of the humanitarian community's response to the Syrian refugee crisis. 

Subhi Nahas, a Syrian refugee who gained asylum in the U.S. in 2015, provided a first-hand account of the reality most refugees fleeing Syria face when transiting to other countries.

Dr. Sarah Chynoweth is a Research Fellow at the Handa Center for Human Rights at Stanford University provided an overview of coordination among international organizations based on her experience providing support in Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. 

Julie Freccero, Director of the Health and Human Rights Initiative at UC Berkeley Law, reflected on her experience providing direct response in Greece, a major transit point for refugees arriving in Europe. Both suggested that despite shortcomings in the first few years of the crisis, coordination among international relief actors has been positive when compared to other response efforts. 

The discussion participants encouraged attendees to learn more about the following: 

  • The unique challenges faced by men and adolescent boys in refugee camps who suffer sexual violence at an alarming rate. 
  • As the Syrian refugee crisis enters the 7th year, opportunities to support local organizations who are providing direct relief on the ground as well as opportunities to support refugees arriving in the Bay Area by reaching out directly to the IRC and other partner organizations. 

Missed the event but interested in learning more about this issue? See more information below. 


Spectra Project 


UNHCR Report on Syria Refugee Response

UNICEF Summary, Harrowing Journeys