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UNHCR welcomes US plan to resettle more refugees

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UNHCR welcomes US plan to resettle more refugees

15 September 2016

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, welcomes the US plan to admit more refugees next year, saying the decision reaffirms the need for resettlement as a life-saving option for the most vulnerable people and shows continued leadership in addressing the global humanitarian crisis.

“Only a tiny fraction of refugees in the most desperate need ever get a chance to rebuild a life through resettlement in a safe country,” United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said.

“More must be done by all countries to care for our fellow human beings facing life-threatening risk.  The decision by the United States government reflects the willingness of communities across the country to welcome more refugees and for this I am profoundly grateful,” he said.

The United States, the world’s largest country for refugee resettlement, affirmed this week plans to take in 110,000 refugees in fiscal year 2017 which begins October 1. That target figure represents a robust increase from the 85,000 resettled in the United States this year.

Decisions on which refugees will be admitted are made solely by the US government which also conducts a comprehensive and detailed vetting process overseas that must be completed satisfactorily before any refugee can travel to the United States for resettlement.

Grandi noted that the vast majority of refugees in the world remain close to their own countries in the hope of returning home as soon as it is safe, while others may eventually settle in the country where they were forced to flee.

Resettlement to a third country, however, must remain an option for the most vulnerable for whom no other humane solution is available, he said.

According to the latest UNHCR annual Global Trends report, more than 65 million women, children and men, including some 20 million refugees, were forcibly uprooted from their homes at the end of 2015 – the highest number on record.