6 July 2012 The United Nations refugee agency and its partners will meet next week in Geneva to discuss how to help the more than 800,000 refugees who are seeking resettlement.
Known as the 18th Annual Tripartite Consultations on Resettlement, the meeting – which will be attended by representatives of resettlement countries, non-governmental organizations and members of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) – will look at ways to improve how resettlement works in various countries.
“Resettlement is one of three main solutions for refugees,” said UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards at a press briefing in Geneva today. “It is an integral part of comprehensive solutions strategies in many UNHCR operations.”
The other solutions for refugees are voluntary repatriation, and integration into the country of first asylum.
Currently, there are only 81,000 resettlement places offered each year among 26 States, which means that just one out of ten people needing resettlement will have the opportunity to do so.
During the three-day meeting, which will start on Monday, UNHCR and its partners will also discuss how to strengthen cultural orientation programmes, enhance support for post arrival services, and reinforce pre-departure preparations.
Chaired by Australia, the meeting will also allow for resettled refugees to share their experiences relating to their integration process and how they have contributed to welcoming new arrivals.
Over the past five years, UNHCR and its partners have been able to use resettlement to help 330,000 refugees resume their lives. Last year, UNHCR submitted 92,000 refugees to countries for resettlement, and 61,649 refugees departed, with the agency’s help, to 22 countries.
UNCHR estimates that Somalis, Iraqis, Afghans, and Congolese are expected to be the major refugee populations over the coming years with higher resettlement needs.
News Tracker: past stories on this issue