co-author: Jo Debacker, IOM
State Secretary for Asylum and Migration Maggie De Block announced on the 25th of May that Belgium will provide a new home for 100 refugees in the course of 2013. Belgium pledged these 100 places for resettlement of refugees to the European Commission in the framework of the Joint EU Resettlement Programme through which the EU wants to strengthen its commitment to resettlement. Belgium receives for each resettled refugee a financial support of 6.000 EUR from the European Refugee Fund managed by the European Commission. The EC grants this financial support to EU Member States who will resettle refugees for the first time in the framework of the Joint Resettlement Programme and as such aims to increase the number of resettlement places in Europe and provide a better answer to the situation of refugees worldwide.
The Office of the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless persons (CGRS) will be responsible for the selection of the refugees on the basis of a pre-selection made by UNHCR. It is not the first time Belgium resettles, they did so in 2009 (Iraqi refugees) and in 2011 (Eritrean and Congolese refugees) on the request of UNHCR. The first 6 months after arrival Fedasil, the Reception Agency for Asylum Seekers will provide accommodation in their reception centres and prepare the first steps for integration (language courses, finding a home,…) afterwards the refugees will be housed in municipality housing. The aim is to start the integration of refugees at the earliest stage.
The refugees identified for resettlement can be for example Congolese refugees from the Great Lakes region, Iraqi’s who for the moment reside in Turkey, Syria or Lebanon, Somalis or Afghans.
What is resettlement?
Resettlement involves the selection and transfer of refugees from a State in which they have sought protection to a third State which has agreed to admit them – as refugees – with permanent residence status. Resettlement provides a durable solution for those refugees unable to return to their home country and without local integration perspectives in the country of asylum.
Resettlement in Europe
Resettlement is a vital protection tool for many thousands of refugees. In 2012 alone, 172,000 refugees are in need of resettlement. Currently the Member States of the European Union offer only 5,500 resettlement places each year, compared to the 60,000 places offered by the United States, 8,000 places by Canada and 6,000 by Australia for 2012 alone.
To become a significant global player, Europe should and could increase its resettlement places and also provide resettled refugees with high quality reception and integration support.
A network of EU Resettlement experts
On 14th and 15th of May 2012, the first EU Resettlement Skills Share Day took place in Brussels. The EU Resettlement Skills Share Day marked a key moment in the development of the EU Resettlement Network, which is one of the main aims of the second joint IOM, ICMC and UNHCR project “Linking-In EU Resettlement: Linking the resettlement phases and connecting local resettlement practitioners”. The aim of the conference was twofold, on the one hand bringing together existing and new actors in the field of resettlement to contribute to the further development of the EU Resettlement Network and on the other hand offering a forum to share good practices and expertise in the field of resettlement and particularly, in reception and integration of refugees.
On the occasion of the EU Skills Share day the website: www.resettlement.eu , co-financed by the European Refugee Fund, was launched together with the 2020 campaign to resettle 20.000 refugees per year in Europe by 2020.
With the 2020 campaign, 6 leading organizations in the refugee field – Amnesty International, CCME, ECRE, ICMC, IOM and Save Me are campaigning for more and better resettlement in Europe.
The 2020 campaign can be supported via our website: http://www.resettlement.eu/resettlement-saves-lives or via our Facebook-page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Resettlement-saves-lives-2020-campaign/388518664522528
More info can be found on: http://www.resettlement.eu