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NGOs issue global call for expansion of refugee resettlement

NGO delegates from 26 countries today have called for international action to expand resettlement and additional migration pathways for refugees as UNHCR releases a new report detailing that 2.9 million of the world’s refugees will be in priority need of resettlement in 2025.

The three-day annual Consultations on Resettlement and Complementary Pathways (CRCP) opened in Geneva today with the release of UNHCR’s assessment of global refugee resettlement needs for 2025.

Co-chaired by the Australian Government, Refugee Council of Australia, UNHCR and the CRCP Refugee Advisory Group, the 2024 CRCP has brought together 340 delegates from 44 countries, including representatives from government agencies, NGOs, refugee-led organisations, UN and inter-governmental bodies, private sector organisations and academic institutions.

UNHCR’s Projected Global Resettlement Needs 2025 report identifies 2.9 million refugees who need resettlement next year, half a million more refugees than were identified by UNHCR as needing resettlement a year ago.

The number of refugees needing priority resettlement in 2025 is 30 times greater than the 96,311 refugees who were resettled in 2023 after being referred to states by UNHCR.

A joint NGO statement, delivered by Refugee Council of Australia CEO Paul Power at today’s CRCP opening session, backed the call by UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, for states to step up and provide sustainable and multi-year commitments to refugee resettlement.

Welcoming the expansion of resettlement programs by some states, the NGO statement expressed concern about the number of states reducing or pausing their resettlement programs despite the pressing global need.

Calling on states to maintain and expand resettlement and complementary pathways programs, the NGO statement noted resettlement’s vital role in providing a lifeline for refugees at greatest risk in hosting countries, particularly LGBTQI+ refugees in countries where same-sex intimacy is criminalised, women and girls experiencing sexual and gender-based violence, people with disabilities and complex health needs, and other refugees facing imminent danger.

The CRCP continues until Friday, with delegates discussing progress on the Third Country Solutions 2030 Roadmap, a 12-year strategy to resettle one million refugees and support the migration of two million refugees through complementary pathways.

Discussions about complementary pathways will focus on refugees’ access to skilled labour migration, education pathways, community sponsorship and family reunion. Dialogue on resettlement will include perspectives of refugee hosting states, exploration of the role of refugee-led organisations, strategies to support states with new or developing resettlement programs, responses to climate change, and resettlement’s role in enhancing the protection of LGBTQI+ refugees and providing alternatives to risky journeys to safety.

The importance of post-arrival support of newly resettled refugees will be explored in sessions on orientation prior to and after arrival, support for survivors of torture and trauma, housing solutions, digital inclusion, private sector partnerships and creating welcoming communities.

The full text of the NGO statement can be found here.

 

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