Romania: Evacuation transit centre to be established

Briefing Notes, 9 May 2008

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 9 May 2008, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

An evacuation transit centre for people in urgent need of international protection will be established in Romania, according to an agreement signed in Bucharest yesterday by the Romanian government, UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The centre the first of its kind in Europe will be located in the city of Timisoara and accommodate up to 200 people. It will provide a temporary safe haven with effective and immediate protection for individuals or groups who need to be evacuated immediately from life-threatening situations before being resettled to other countries.

We are grateful to the government of Romania for this important contribution to our efforts to protect refugees against forced return and other threats to their physical safety.

Resettlement countries have pledged their support for this initiative and we are now calling on other governments to provide financial assistance to support the centre.