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26 September 2017

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Roula’s family relocated from Greece to Portugal. Photo: IOM 2017

UN Migration Director General Calls for Continuity, Full Participation in EU Relocation Programme

Posted on Tue. September 26, 2017

New York – On its final registration day (26/09), IOM, the UN Migration Agency counts nearly 30,000 asylum seekers that the organization has assisted through the European Union’s emergency relocation scheme. Set up two years ago to relocate over 100,000 asylum seekers from frontline EU Member States –Greece and Italy – EU member and associated states will have until the end of December 2017 to carry out the remaining registered relocations.

Reflecting on the achievements and shortcomings of the programme, UN Migration Agency Director General William Lacy Swing praised the scheme and its potential to relieve pressure on frontline states, to help thousands of stranded asylum seekers, and to demonstrate the fundamental values that define the EU. He urged the EU and its Member States to continue the relocation programme in uninterrupted, improved form. 

Given the current departure numbers, and provided that states keep up their pledges and commitment to the scheme, IOM is ready to relocate another 5,000–7,500 people up to the end of December 2017. It will continue to implement pre-departure health assessment, orientation and travel assistance.  

To date, Germany (8,479), France (4,474), The Netherlands (2,442), Sweden (2,276) and Finland (1,975) have welcomed the highest number of relocated asylum seekers.  Malta along with Norway and Lichtenstein (the two non-EU countries which opted in to the programme) have fulfilled their commitments.  Finland and Ireland are close to reaching their commitments. Finland and Ireland are close to reaching their commitments. Hungary and Poland have not participated despite their legal obligation, while Austria and the Czech Republic have received less than 1 per cent of their quota.

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Migration in the News

  • UNB reported that some 607,735 undocumented Rohingyas have been identified in four sub-units of Cox's Bazar districta 3.7-fold increase since the last reporting period in July.
  • Saudi Gazette reported that a team from KSrelief is visiting Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh to assess their basic humanitarian needs.
  • Devex reported on some of the biggest trends to emerge from the Global Goals Week, which included migration and refugees.
  • The New York Times reported about the Refugee Food and Art Festival in New York which featured booths, installations, murals and performances, as well as hors d’oeuvres and meals prepared by displaced chefs.
  • IRIN reported that intense frustration is building across the aid community that despite its best efforts it has been unable to dent the catastrophic levels of suffering in South Sudan.
  • Xinhua reported that more than 100,000 South Sudanese refugees were relocated to camps in Ethiopia since September 2016.
  • Reliefweb reported on the reorganization of the Wau Protection of Civilians site, the most congested camp in South Sudan, to improve safety and living conditions for the 39,000 internally displaced people living there.
  • Reuters reported on Lebanese President Michel Aoun’s call on Monday that UN aid should henceforth be used to organize the return of Syrian refugees to their country and not to "keep them in destitute camps" in Lebanon where 1.5 million Syrians have found refuge since the beginning of the conflict.
  • Gambia’s The Point reported the harrowing experiences of Gambians in Libya who have voluntarily returned home with the assistance of the Gambian government and IOM.
  • Uganda’s The Observer reported on an EU-funded project that will help youth living in slums in Kampala to set up businesses.

Trending on the Internet

  • The Salt Lake Tribune published an op-ed which noted that data showed that in the US immigrants assimilate successfully into the local culture and social fabric.
  • A Sydney Morning Herald report imagines what would happen if Australia halted immigration.  


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