Chad: first group of refugees depart for resettlement in the USA

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson William Spindler to whom quoted text may be attributed at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

A first group of 11 refugees left the Chadian capital N'Djamena by air on Sunday (21 June), to be resettled in the United States. The group comprised seven urban refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), three urban Sudanese refugees and one person from the Central African Republic (CAR) who had been living in Dosseye refugee camp in southern Chad. They will be resettled in Kentucky (Lexington), Texas (San Antonio), Iowa (Des Moines) and Utah (Salt Lake City).

Throughout this year we plan to identify a total of 1,800 cases for resettlement, most of them Sudanese refugees from Darfur living in refugee camps in eastern Chad.

Chad hosts a total of 250,000 Sudanese refugees from the Darfur region in twelve UNHCR-run camps in the east. In addition, there are 70,000 refugees from the CAR living in five camps in the south of the country. The United States has so far been the first country to promote resettlement from Chad.

Resettlement requires a very meticulous process and usually takes seven to nine months per individual case. It includes the selection by our Protection officers in the field, several interviews, medical screening carried out by IOM and cultural orientation sessions. Our staff is trained in anti-fraud measures to avoid selecting refugees who are not eligible and refugees are counseled until the very day of their departure on their rights and obligations in their new country. Resettlement to third countries is considered one of UNHCR's durable solutions for protracted refugee situations, along with voluntary repatriation and local integration.

The next group is expected to depart N'Djamena in early July and will mainly consist of Darfur refugees from eastern Chad's 12 refugee camps.