BY FAUXILE KIBET
The UNHCR refugee agency has said that it would take up to 18 years to resettle the most vulnerable refugees around the world.
In its Projected Global Resettlement Needs 2019 annual report, the UN humanitarian agency said that there was a “widening gap between the number of refugees in need of resettlement and the places made available by governments around the world.”
According to UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, the number of refugees who need a solution in third countries has grown to a projected 1.4 million in 2019, while the number of resettlement places globally had dropped to just 75,000 in 2017.
“We need more resettlement places to allow this programme to continue, and to see this kind of common purpose and resolve among States replicated on a massive scale to meet today’s global challenges.”
Mr Grandi observed that increasing opportunities for refugees to move to third countries is a key objective in the new comprehensive approach to refugee situations agreed to by 193 UN Member States in the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants in September 2016, and a central plank of a new global compact on refugees to come before the UNGA by the end of 2018.
“We urgently need more countries to enter the ranks of resettlement states and for those already on board to find ways to increase their programmes,” he said.
Thirty-five countries now take part in UNHCR’S resettlement programme, up from 27 states in 2008.
The report notes also that refugees from 36 nationalities are in need of resettlement out of 65 operations in countries around the world.
Refugees from Syria and the DRC made up two-thirds of the refugees submitted for resettlement by UNHCR in 2017.
UNHCR appealed to countries to take in more refugees with acute protection needs from a diverse range of countries and operations and to commit over a sustained basis.
Currently, only 14 out of 25 resettlement states receive refugees from more than three different resettlement operations. The agency also urged states to dedicate at least 10 per cent of their intakes for emergency and urgent cases identified by UNHCR.