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UNHCR welcomes Ireland's decision to welcome 2,900 refugees over the next 4 years

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UNHCR welcomes Ireland's decision to welcome 2,900 refugees over the next 4 years

17 December 2019

UNHCR has welcomed Ireland’s decision to welcome 2,900 refugees between 2020 and 2023. The pledge, which was made at the Global Refugee Forum in Geneva, will form a new phase of the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP) in place since 2015.  

“Resettlement is a lifeline for refugees who face increased risks in the countries that they fled to” said Enda O’Neill, Head of Office with UNHCR Ireland. “Ireland has welcomed 3,151 refugees under the IRPP since 2015, 51 of whom arrived today. The decision to increase resettlement by 20% over the next four years is a very significant contribution, one that is urgently needed given the record number of people fleeing from war, conflict and persecution.”

Ireland also committed to expand its community sponsorship programme in the years ahead. The programme, which was initiated by Minister Stanton, allows local people to play a key role in welcoming refugees to their new community. Minister Stanton addressed the Forum on Monday 16 December on Ireland’s experience in establishing the programme, which has welcomed 30 people (8 families) to date.

 “The forum comes at the end of a tumultuous decade in which the number of refugees has almost doubled to 26 million. Ireland’s firm commitment to refugees and the countries that host them is a powerful signal of hope at a time when global solidarity is needed more than ever.”

In addition to firm commitments on resettlement, Ireland made further pledges on refugee education and peace building. Meanwhile Irish universities and the private sector also announced their commitment to supporting refugees at the forum.