8 April 2016

On 30 March, UNHCR held a High Level Meeting on Global Responsibility Sharing through Pathways for Admission of Syrian Refugees. The conference achieved a modest increase in the number of resettlement and humanitarian admission places, bringing the total available pledged places to 185,000. UNHCR estimates that at least 10% of the 4.8 million refugees from Syria will need resettlement or other forms of humanitarian admission before the end of 2018.

“Giving at least some Syrian refugees an opportunity to move on to better lives, and relieving the burden on countries hosting millions of refugees are important gestures of solidarity. Let us not miss this opportunity,” stated UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi ahead of the meeting. The 92 countries which participated in the conference pledged little over 6,000 additional places, leading Human Rights Watch’s Refugee Rights Director Bill Frelick to dub the conference ‘Global Responsibility Avoidance’.

The European Union’s plan to resettle one Syrian refugee out of Turkey for every Syrian refugee returned to Turkey from Greece – until the 54,000 former Hungary relocation quota is filled – was counted as a resettlement pledge. ECRE reiterates that the one-for-one plan is demeaning and undignified, and should not, in any event, be used in the framework of resettlement. ECRE repeats its calls that resettlement should not be linked to migration management and should at all times remain distinct from readmission and other deterrence measures.  

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This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 8 April 2016. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.