UNHCR, IOM and partners launch new plan to respond to Europe's refugee and migrant situation

Young refugee girls sit on the steps of an informal recreational space at a camp in Lagkadikia, northern Greece where more than 30 per cent of the population are children. UNHCR and its partners have created a safe space for unaccompanied children here.  © UNHCR/Achilleas Zavallis

Joint UNHCR/IOM Press Release

UNHCR, IOM and 72 other partners are launching today a new strategy and appeal to help respond to the situation of refugees and migrants in Europe in 2017.

The Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan aims at complementing and reinforcing Governments’ efforts to ensure safe access to asylum and the protection of refugees and migrants. It also aims to support long-term solutions and orderly and dignified migration management. Strengthened partnership and coordination will also be given priority in 2017.

“Over the past two years, Europe’s response to the arrival of over 1.3 million refugees and migrants on its soil has been faced with many challenges, including how to protect refugees and migrants. This Plan is an operational tool which will play a key role to ensure more efficient operations and a better coordinated response throughout 2017,” said Vincent Cochetel, Director of UNHCR’s Europe Bureau.

Added Leonard Doyle, chief spokesperson for the International Organization for Migration: “We are especially concerned about vulnerability and needs of migrant and refugee children especially women and girls and this initiative is exactly what is needed.”

The document stresses the need for long-term solutions for refugees and migrants, including a robust relocation scheme, support to voluntary returns and reinforced alternative legal pathways to dangerous journeys, including resettlement and family reunification.

Particular emphasis is placed on addressing the specific needs of refugee and migrant children as well as those of women and girls. The plan includes pilot projects for a more effective response to the needs of unaccompanied and separated children in Europe, as over 25,000 of them arrived by sea to Italy alone in 2016. The plan also includes strengthening efforts to identify and support survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.

Noting the necessity to address not only the needs of a mainly static population, but also those of people who will continue to move irregularly within Europe, the plan has a large geographical scope and covers Turkey, Southern Europe, Western Balkans, Central Europe as well as Western and Northern Europe.

The total financial requirements amount to USD 691 million, with a population planning figure of up to 340,000 people, based on previous arrivals trends and people present in countries who will receive support through this Plan.

 

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