Refugee agencies urge Europe to help the world’s most vulnerable refugees - Refugee Council
July 4, 2005

Refugee agencies urge Europe to help the world’s most vulnerable refugees

At the main asylum event of the UK’s Presidency of the EU today, Monday 4 July, the Refugee Council and the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) call on EU Member States to develop resettlement programmes to bring the most vulnerable refugees to safety in Europe.

As well as providing a dignified and durable solution for some of the world’s most vulnerable refugees, resettlement programmes offer an opportunity to promote positive images of refugees and to foster public goodwill and understanding of asylum. They also allow for the planning of effective integration programmes that enable refugees to rebuild their lives in their new communities.

In a presentation to the conference Maeve Sherlock, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council will outline the benefits of resettlement programmes both for refugees and governments.

Maeve Sherlock said:

“The resettlement programme in the UK, although still in its early stages, has proved to be very successful, and we are keen that this success is replicated throughout the EU. Resettlement programmes have a key part to play in the protection of refugees worldwide and serve as a safety net for the most vulnerable refugees who have no opportunity of returning home in the near future and who are stranded in dangerous and impoverished conditions in refugee camps.

“We are very fortunate to have been able to play a part in the resettlement scheme and feel that NGOs have a key role to play in ensuring the success of these programmes.”

The General Secretary of ECRE, Peer Baneke will set out a vision for the expansion of resettlement across Europe and how this could be achieved effectively. Both speakers will highlight the importance of resettlement as an addition to, not a substitute for, the regular asylum process.

Peer Baneke said:

“Other countries have resettled many refugees from Europe. Today European countries are doing comparatively little to resettle refugees. A resettlement programme co-ordinated across the EU would send a powerful signal that Europe is committed to sharing the responsibility for refugee protection, particularly with the poorest countries that host the majority of the world’s refugees.”