EU Must Boost Refugee Resettlement
(Brussels, 28 March 2012) With the European Parliament expected tomorrow to approve a joint European Union resettlement programme, Amnesty International has urged EU governments to boost their commitment by resettling larger numbers of vulnerable refugees.
“Resettlement can be a life-saver for refugees who can’t go home because of persecution or war, and who can’t stay in the country where they first claim asylum”, said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office. “It gives some of the world’s most vulnerable refugees immediate protection and a long-lasting solution. European governments aren’t resettling anything like as many refugees as they should. All EU countries should sign up to the scheme and use the additional money to resettle substantially more refugees next year.”
More than 170,000 people need to be resettled this year. In contrast, the global number of places being offered is just 80,000. To date, the EU has played only a minor role in the global resettlement effort. EU countries resettled only 4,700 people in 2010, just 4.4% of those resettled worldwide that year.
Amnesty International has launched a campaign for safe countries to raise the number of refugees they resettle each year. It has appealed to EU countries to use extra funding available under the EU programme by pledging additional numbers of resettlement places for 2013.
The joint resettlement programme is voluntary, and provides new funding for EU countries to resettle more refugees from vulnerable groups, such as children and women at risk, unaccompanied minors, people who have serious medical needs, and those from high-priority geographical areas. For 2013 these include Iraqi refugees in Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, Afghan refugees in Turkey, Pakistan and Iran, Congolese refugees in Burundi, Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia, and Somali refugees in Ethiopia.
National governments will receive up to €6,000 for each resettled person from the European Refugee Fund. To benefit from this money, governments must tell the European Commission how many refugees they will resettle by 1 May next year. To date, only 13 EU countries, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden and the UK, have set up annual resettlement programmes.
For more information please contact:
Media & Communications Officer
European Institutions Office
Tel: +32 (0) 2 548 2773