PARIS, April 22 (UPI) -- French President Francois Hollande came under pressure to provide more aid to Syrian refugees in France, with leaders of the country’s Green Party urging him to open an emergency facility for 160 refugees camped out in a suburban Paris park.
Only six months ago Hollande bragged that France was the first to say the arrival of Syrian refugees in Europe could become an issue, “and France hasn’t shirked responsibility,” but refugees from the Syrian cities of Homs, Alep and Latakia have established a makeshift camp in a public park in the Paris suburb of Saint-Ouen. The refugees live “in undignified conditions and have had to rely on the solidarity of associations and locals,” a Green Party statement said Tuesday. Although the vast majority of the two million Syrian refugees have settled in nearby countries, a growing number are in Europe, with Sweden the continent’s leader in offering asylum and automatic permanent residency.
France has offered asylum to only 500 Syrian refugees, and Hollande will likely face additional calls from human rights groups to welcome more.
Friday the France Terre d’Asile organization, whose name translates to “France, Land of Asylum”) took three pregnant women from the Saint-Ouen camp to a nearby hospital.