Not enough resettlement solutions for refugees worldwide, says UN

19 February 2019

Despite record numbers of people forcibly displaced across borders, with 1.2 million in need of a new permanent place to call home last year, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) released new data on Tuesday showing that only 55,700 of them – 4.7 per cent – were able to be resettled in 2018.

Resettlement, which involves the relocation of refugees from a country of asylum to a country that has agreed to admit them and grant them permanent settlement, is available only to a fraction of the world’s refugees. Typically, less than one per cent of the 20 million refugees under UNHCR’s mandate worldwide are ever resettled.

The data covers specifically UNHCR-facilitated resettlements and shows that the highest numbers of resettlement departures originated in major refugee-hosting countries, including Lebanon (9,800), Turkey (9,000), Jordan (5,100) and Uganda (4,000).

Out of 81,310 requests for resettlement made by UNHCR in 2018, the largest number were for people from Syria (28,200), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (21,800), Eritrea (4,300) and Afghanistan (4,000).

More than two thirds of requests for resettlement were for survivors of violence and torture, people with legal and physical protection needs, and women and girls at risk. More than half of all resettlement submissions in 2018 were for children.

This year, it is estimated that 1.4 million refugees who are currently residing in 65 hosting countries worldwide, will need to be resettled. The vast majority are Syrian refugees (43 per cent), most of whom are currently hosted in countries across the Middle East and Turkey, and refugees hosted in asylum and transit countries along the Central Mediterranean route (22 per cent), where movements towards Europe continue to take a devastating toll on human life.

UNHCR explained in its statement that resettlement remains a “life-saving tool” as it is meant to ensure the protection of those most at risk. It is an “instrument of protection, and a tangible` mechanism for governments and communities across the world to share responsibility for responding to forced displacement crises”.

Resettlement and other complementary pathways for admission, is a key objective of the Global Compact on Refugees, adopted last December, to help reduce the impact of large refugee situations on host countries. The document calls for Member States to offer more resettlement solutions, by expanding existing programmes or establishing new ones.

The UN refugee agency is working with governments and other entities, to develop a three-year strategy on “Resettlement and Complementary Pathways” to help increase the pool of resettlement places, encourage more countries to participate in global resettlement efforts, and increase access to complementary pathways for refugees.

 

Help us know what you think about UN News and ensure we meet your needs: take 4 minutes to take our survey!

♦ Receive daily updates directly in your inbox - Subscribe here to a topic.
♦ Download the UN News app for your iOS or Android devices.

News Tracker: Past Stories on This Issue

UN agencies call for action to bolster rights of Europe’s stateless children

United Nations agencies are calling on States and regional organizations across Europe to take urgent action to ensure that thousands of currently stateless children are given the support and protection they deserve.  

African continent ‘an example of solidarity’ towards migrants and refugees: UN chief

African nations are setting an example for richer countries when it comes to the treatment of refugees, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a press conference on Saturday, following a meeting with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.