UNHCR and partners to examine improving resettlement for refugees in need, at July 9-11 meeting

Briefing Notes, 6 July 2012

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 6 July 2012, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

UNHCR and its partners are meeting between Monday and Wednesday of next week in Geneva to look at ways to better help the 859,300 refugees globally for whom resettlement is the only possible solution to their plight.

The 18th Annual Tripartite Consultations on Resettlement, chaired by Australia, and bringing together representatives of resettlement countries, Non-Governmental Organizations, service providers, and UNHCR staff, has three main objectives: it will look at enhancing resettlement as a solution for refugees and as mechanism for burden sharing between countries; improving the ways in which resettlement works with a view to reducing the time taken for considering cases for resettlement; and improving reception and integration of resettled refugees.

Globally, there are just 81,000 resettlement places each year offered among some 26 States, meaning that in any year only one-in-10 persons needing resettlement will have an opportunity to be resettled.

The meeting will also look at how in certain priority situations resettlement can be used more strategically to provide better protection to larger groups of refugees who cannot be resettled. With regard to reception and integration of resettled refugees, UNHCR and its partners are expected to discuss strengthened cultural orientation programmes, enhanced support for post arrival services, and reinforced pre-departure preparations. Capacity building through twinning arrangements between resettlement countries will be explored. The meeting will also give a voice to resettled refugees to share their experiences relating to their integration process and how they have contributed to welcoming new arrivals.

Resettlement is one of three main solutions for refugees (the other solutions being voluntary repatriation, and integration into the country of first asylum) and is an integral part of comprehensive solutions strategies in many UNHCR operations.

Over the past five years UNHCR working with resettlement States, NGOs, and other partners has been able to use resettlement to help 330,000 refugees resume their lives. In 2011 UNHCR submitted 92,000 refugees to countries for resettlement, and 61,649 refugees departed with UNHCR's help to 22 countries. Based on current trends, by country of origin, Somalis, Iraqis, Afghans, and Congolese are expected to be the major refugee populations over the coming years with higher resettlement needs.

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