Gillian Triggs, UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Protection
The Integration Handbook for Resettled Refugees is the key reference text for UNHCR on the integration of resettled refugees. It grew from a seed planted in 2001 at the International Conference on the Reception and Integration of Resettled Refugees hosted by the Government of Sweden. It complemented the 2002 Agenda for Protection which called on, “States to put in place policies to ensure that resettlement runs in tandem with a more vigorous integration policy”. The imperative to invest in robust reception and integration services for resettled refugees is also highlighted in the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) and its Three-Year Strategy (2019-2021) on Resettlement and Complementary Pathways.
The Handbook lays out key integration principles for States and stakeholders to guide reception and integration activities for resettled refugees and provides a wide range of global practices and models. Many of the ideas presented may also be useful in planning program responses for the integration of refugees arriving spontaneously.
The Handbook has been updated to reflect the changing nature of integration processes and programmes and the increasingly broad range of stakeholders engaged in resettlement. Like the first edition, this update is the outcome of a truly collaborative effort, with NGOs, refugees, governments and UNHCR staff contributing in different ways. Without their generosity, commitment and expertise it could not have taken place.
Resettlement is a complex and difficult process, which does not end when a refugee steps off the plane. On the contrary, that is just the start. It involves a process of being received and integrated within a new society. Governments, NGOs, volunteers, the local community, and the refugees themselves all contribute to the integration process. With the support of receiving communities, resettled refugees are able to begin a new life with dignity and respect. I hope that this updated Handbook will be a valuable tool and inspire and drive our collective work in years to come.