It’s urgent to revive refugee resettlement efforts now.
21 SEPTEMBER 2020
Caritas Europa and six major NGOs (International Rescue Committee, European Council on Refugees and Exiles, International Catholic Migration Commission, Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe, SHARE network and the Red Cross EU Office) have launched a joint statement urging the EU to urgently kick-start and increase its refugee resettlement efforts, which were paused due to COVID-19.
Resettlement is one of the few safe, legal pathways available for vulnerable refugees to reach the EU from third countries such as Lebanon, Libya and Uganda. In 2019, more than 21,000 refugees were resettled in the EU. However, travel restrictions due to COVID brought resettlement to a standstill for several months this year. Since the start of the pandemic more than 10,000 refugees have had their departures to the EU cancelled. Despite resettlement programmes slowly restarting, global resettlement efforts are reportedly still at a record low.
The protection needs are huge: 1,45 million refugees worldwide have been identified by UNHCR as particularly vulnerable and in need of resettlement. The pandemic should not be used as an excuse by EU states to delay the implementation of their commitment to bring 30,000 of these people to safety in the EU this year. Global solidarity and responsibility is needed now more than ever.”
Maria Nyman, Secretary General of Caritas Europa
We are calling for the EU and Member States to fulfil their pledges to take in some of the world’s most vulnerable, as well as:
TO THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION: – To encourage member states to substantially address the resettlement backlog before the end of the year through political leadership and targeted management of financial support. – To facilitate the immediate operational cooperation of member states in all phases of resettlement, directly and in collaboration with EASO, UNHCR, IOM and civil society partners, allowing for speedy processing and economies of scale. – While explicitly safeguarding the right to seek asylum, to take the opportunity of the new EU Pact on Migration and Asylum to frame resettlement and other safe and legal avenues to protection as a key priority for the EU. TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: – To closely monitor the progress of resettlement pledges and activities of the Council and Commission, underlining the pressing need to kickstart resettlement. – To ensure that sufficient financial support is available to encourage resettlement efforts by member states. Resettlement and complementary pathways such as family reunification, education and labour pathways and humanitarian corridors should be considered in the discussions on the seven-year Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and Recovery Package (NGEU). We would welcome the continuation of the lump sum system of 10.000 Euro per resettled person as well as clarification regarding the future funding for the ETMs. – To provide a long-term, predictable and protection-oriented framework for EU resettlement by urgently adopting the Union Resettlement and Humanitarian Admission Framework together with the Council, while maintaining its position in the 2018 provisional agreement.