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European Commission wants new refugee resettlement scheme, with 50,000 target

European Commission

European Commission – Press release

Brussels, 27 September 2017

State of the Union 2017 – Commission presents next steps towards a stronger, more effective and fairer EU migration and asylum policy

1

On 13 September, in his annual State of the Union address, President Jean-Claude Juncker said: “In spite of the debate and controversy around this topic, we have managed to make solid progress (…) We now need to redouble our efforts. Before the end of the month, the Commission will present a new set of proposals with an emphasis on returns, solidarity with Africa and opening legal pathways.”

The Commission is today reviewing progress on the 2015 European Agenda on Migration and setting out the next steps to put in place the missing elements of a stronger, fairer and more effective EU migration and asylum policy. Building on the progress achieved so far, the Commission is today presenting a series of new initiatives in key areas: a new resettlement scheme for at least 50,000 refugees, pilot projects for legal migration which the Commission can help finance and coordinate, and new measures to make the EU’s return policy more effective. The Commission also calls on Member States to urgently make progress on the reform of the Common European Asylum System and make further efforts to work with countries of origin and transit of migration, in particular by providing additional contributions to the EU Trust Fund for Africa.

First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: “Our joint efforts to respond to the migration and refugee crisis have led to tangible results, with irregular arrivals significantly down in both the Eastern and the Central Mediterranean. However, we’re not there yet, so we must stay the course and further consolidate our comprehensive migration approach by putting in place the remaining building blocks.”

High Representative/ Vice-President Federica Mogherini said: “Over the last two years, we finally built an EU policy on migration, which is starting to deliver. It is about managing one of the most complex, structural phenomena of our times, not a temporary emergency. Our cooperation with our partners in Africa, but also with the UN, has started to bear fruits by ensuring a better protection of migrants, making traffickers and smugglers’ business less profitable, and offering alternatives and legal avenues. We will keep working on the same track: We’ll only succeed by working in a united and consistent manner.”

Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “Now is the moment to take the next steps to achieve a fair, robust and realistic EU migration policy. This means continuing to show solidarity with the most affected Member States, but also finding quickly the right compromise on the reform of the Common European Asylum system. It also means improving returns and today we propose to create a true operational EU return hub within the European Border and Coast Guard Agency. And we need to open real alternatives to taking perilous irregular journeys. Investing in more legal pathways, both for protection but also for study or work, is therefore essential. “

The Mid-term review of the European Agenda on Migration shows the positive impact of EU migration management over the past two years on reducing the incentives for irregular migration, strengthening the protection of our external borders, upholding our duty to assist refugees and enhancing legal pathways to Europe. Building on these results, it is now essential to maintain the current efforts, step up the work towards more stable and structural solutions and remain ready to respond to unforeseen situations, as the migratory pressure on Europe remains high. That is why the Commission proposes to take the following next steps:

Continuing to ensure solidarity

With over 29,000 persons relocated so far, the first ever large-scale EU-coordinated relocation mechanism has contributed to significantly reducing the pressure on the asylum systems of Italy and Greece. The immediate priority is now to ensure that all the remaining eligible persons who have arrived to Greece and Italy until September 26 are relocated swiftly. In total, around 37,000 people are expected to be effectively relocated under the scheme.

The migratory pressure on Italy and Greece however continues to remain high, due to the accumulated backlog from the arrivals in 2016 and first half of 2017. The Commission stands ready to provide financial support to Member States who sustain their relocation efforts beyond the current schemes. The assistance provided by EASO and other EU agencies to Italy and Greece should also continue and, when needed, be further reinforced.

At the same time, we cannot continue to rely on ad hoc measures. That is why the Commission calls on the co-legislators to make use of the current window of opportunity and achieve decisive progress on the reform of the Common European Asylum System and especially the Dublin Regulation.

Enhancing legal pathways: at least 50,000 new resettlement places

The Commission is recommending a new EU resettlement scheme to bring at least 50,000 of the most vulnerable persons in need of internatio­nal protection to Europe over the next two years. This is part of the Commission’s efforts to provide viable safe and legal alternatives for those who risk their lives at the hands of criminal smuggling networks. The new scheme will be in place until October 2019 and will build on the current successful resettlement schemes which, having provided new homes to over 23,000 persons in the EU, are now coming to an end.

The Commission has set aside €500 million to support Member States’ resettlement efforts. Whilst resettlement from Turkey and the Middle East must continue, increased focus should be put on resettling vulnerable persons from North Africa and the Horn of Africa; notably Libya, Egypt, Niger, Sudan, Chad and Ethiopia. This will contribute to further stabilising migration flows along the Central Mediterranean route and notably support the UNHCR in establishing an emergency evacuation mechanism from Libya. Today’s recommendation follows up and complements the resettlement pledging exercise launched on 4 July 2017 which has so far resulted in 14,000 pledges by 11 Member States. It will serve to bridge the period until the new permanent EU Resettlement Framework, proposed by the Commission in July 2016, is adopted.

In addition, the Commission encourages Member States to set up private sponsorship schemes allowing private groups or civil society organisations to organise and finance resettlements in accordance with national legislation. To this effect, the Commission has invited EASO to coordinate a pilot project on private sponsorship schemes with interested Member States.

To turn irregular flows into needs-based economic migration to EU Member States, the Commission is proposing to coordinate and financially support pilot projects for legal migration with third countries. They should focus initially on countries which have shown political engagement in finding joint solutions to tackle irregular migration and readmission of irregular migrants. The European Parliament and the Council should also swiftly come to an agreement and adopt the Commission proposal for a revised EU Blue Card which will improve the EU’s ability to attract and re­tain highly skilled workers and ensure that Member States can rely on the work force they need, when they need it.

The EU’s common visa policy is also an essential instrument for mobility, notably facilitating tourism and business, but also a key tool to prevent security risks or risks of irregular migration. The Commission will assess whether the current visa policy still matches present and future challenges, and will reflect on the need to modernise it.

A more effective EU policy on return

With return rates remaining unsatisfactory (around 36% in 2014-2015) and an estimated 1.5 million people to be returned from EU Member States in the near future, the Commission proposes to step up return efforts on all fronts. The Return Department will be significantly reinforced within the European Border and Coast Guard to ensure the Agency can implement a truly proactive return management approach and drive and coordinate the EU-wide management of returns.

Member States need to further streamline their return policies in line with the 2017 Commission Recommendation and the Renewed Action Plan on Returns and in close cooperation with the European Border and Coast Guard Agency. To this effect, the Commission is today publishing a revised Return Handbook that integrates all these recommendations to national authorities on returns. Member States at the external borders can, where appropriate, use the hotspot approach to ensure that return operations can be managed swiftly, in particular in situations of significant arrival surges.

To increase cooperation on readmission by countries of origin, all incentives and leverages available at EU and national level must be applied.

External dimension: Moving forward under the Partnership Framework

Significant results have been achieved in jointly managing migration flows with countries of origin and transit since the establishment of the Partnership Framework for Migration one year ago. While the progress made needs to be sustained, more work is needed on a number of key issues. This includes further strengthening the EU Trust Fund for Africa and in particular its North Africa window through additional Member State funding.

With arrivals and the number of deaths at sea down, the joint work along the Central Mediterranean route needs to be continued. Work which needs to be further stepped up includes improving the situation of stranded migrants in Libya in cooperation with UNHCR and IOM, in particular in detention centres, the promotion of socio-economic opportunities for local communities, stepping up work on assisted voluntary returns and strengthening the capacity of the Libyan authorities to control the southern borders. In addition, work must be continued along other migratory routes, especially in view of the increasing interconnectivity of such routes.

The EU and Member States must also work closely together to achieve an ambitious UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and the development of the Global Compact for Refugees and the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework with pilot countries.

Background

Upon taking office, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker entrusted a Commissioner with special responsibility for Migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, to work together with the other Commissioners, under the coordination of First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, on a new policy on migration as one of the 10 priorities of the Political Guidelines of the Juncker Commission.

On 13 May 2015, the European Commission proposed a far-reaching strategy, through the European Agenda on Migration, to tackle the immediate challenges of the ongoing crisis, as well as to equip the EU with the tools to better manage migration in the medium and long term, in the areas of irregular migration, borders, asylum and legal migration.

Today’s Communication serves as a mid-term review of what has been achieved so far in delivering the European Agenda on Migration. It also sets out new initiatives from the Commission to address key areas, and identifies where further efforts are needed in the coming months.

For More Information

Communication on the delivery of the European Agenda on Migration

Recommendation on ensuring effective legal pathways to Europe

Recommendation establishing a common Return Handbook

Annex

Factsheet: Towards and efficient and credible EU return policy

Factsheet: Opening legal pathways to Europe

Factsheet: Relocation – sharing responsibility: September 2017

Press release: European Agenda on Migration: Good progress in managing migration flows needs to be sustained

The European Agenda on Migration

 


Bangladeshi Prime Minister demands that Myanmar “take steps to take their nationals back,” and assures temporary aid until that happened.

FOX News

  • “We will not tolerate injustice.”
  • PM lambasted Buddhist-majority Myanmar for “atrocities”
  • PM had “no words to condemn Myanmar”
  • At least 313,000 Rohingya have flooded into Bangladesh since Aug. 25
  • The U.N. human rights chief said the violence and injustice faced by the ethnic Rohingya minority in Myanmar seems a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”
  • Bangladesh has said it would free 2,000 acres (810 hectares) of land for a new camp in Cox’s Bazar district, to help shelter newly arrived Rohingya. The government was also fingerprinting and registering new arrivals.
  • Kutupalong and another pre-existing Rohingya camps were already beyond capacity.
  • Other new arrivals were staying in schools, or huddling in makeshift settlements with no toilets along roadsides and in open fields.  Basic resources were scarce, including food, clean water and medical aid.
  • Aid agencies have been overwhelmed by the influx of Rohingya, many of whom are arriving hungry and traumatized after walking days through jungles or being packed into rickety wooden boats in search of safety in Bangladesh.
  • In the last two weeks, the government hospital in Cox’s Bazar has been overwhelmed by Rohingya patients, with 80 arriving in the last two weeks suffering gunshot wounds as well as bad infections.
  • At least three Rohingya have been wounded in land mine blasts
  • Dozens have drowned when boats capsized during sea crossings.
  • Before Aug. 25, Bangladesh had already been housing more than 100,000 Rohingya who arrived after bloody anti-Muslim rioting in 2012 or amid earlier persecution drives in Myanmar.

 


4.1 Miles Documentary: NY Times

4.1 Miles


NY Times Video: “Endless Stream” of Rohingya Flee Military Offensive

NY Times

 


Aung San Suu Kyi has come under pressure from countries with large Muslim populations including Bangladesh, Indonesia and Pakistan to halt violence against Rohingya Muslims after nearly 125,000 of them fled to Bangladesh.

Reuters

 

 


More than 18 000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh in less than a week as they fear reprisals associated with the insurgent attack on 30 police stations.

BBC

 


Thousands of people have fled their homes following two days of violence in a deepening crisis in the state of Rakhine in Myanmar.

BBC

“…..Fighting erupted when Rohingya fighters attacked 30 police stations on Friday and clashes continued on Saturday……”

 


A daily exodus of villagers fleeing armed conflict, hunger and sexual violence in South Sudan has pushed the number of refugees sheltering in Uganda to over one million.

NY Times

“…..As many as 85 percent of those reaching Uganda recount horrific tales of seeing armed groups burning villagers alive in their houses, shooting people in front of their families, raping women and girls, and seizing boys to serve as conscripts….”

 


Italy: Over 10,000 asylum seekers arrived in Italy from Saturday to Tuesday and some 12,000 have arrived in the last 48 hours.

ANSA


WHO training enables Syrian doctors and nurses to provide health care in Turkey

WHO

WHO training enables Syrian doctors and nurses to provide health care in Turkey19-06-2017

 

“We and the Turkish doctors are working like brothers and sisters.” These are the words of Muhammed Hattab, 1 of more than 3 million Syrian refugees now living in Turkey – the country with the highest number of refugees in the world. A doctor who fled his home in Aleppo more than 2 years ago, Muhammed did not know whether by leaving northern Syria he was also abandoning his profession and the career he had built in his home country. However, thanks to a joint programme of the WHO Country Office in Turkey and the Turkish Ministry of Health, he has been able to begin a new chapter of his life and career, working in the Turkish national health system and providing care for his fellow Syrians in Turkey.

In 2016, the Turkish government enacted a law that allows Syrian health professionals to enter the workforce in the Turkish health system, with the aim of both integrating Syrian professionals into the health system and also ensuring that Syrian refugees can receive health care without encountering language or cultural barriers. In order to implement this law, the Public Health Institution of Turkey, associated with the Ministry of Health, and the WHO Country Office developed an adaptation training for Syrian health workers living Turkey – including doctors, nurses and midwives. The initiative is supported financially by the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Operations (ECHO).The training provides classroom and practical coursework, resulting in a certificate that authorizes Syrian health-care workers to practice in refugee health centres established in Turkey and to deliver health services to Syrian refugees.

Since the trainings began in November 2016, over 380 doctors and 360 nurses and midwives have received vocational competence certificates, allowing them to serve refugee populations in Turkey. Ultimately, they will staff the 260 refugee health centres and 600 refugee health units that the Ministry of Health has opened and will establish in the future. These centres and units provide primary health care, with services offered to Syrian refugees free of charge.

“This project in Turkey was the salvation for Syrian doctors,” says Muhammed. “With this programme, we felt like doctors for the first time in 2 years.”

WHO and Ministry of Health collaborate to provide training and support for Syrian health workers

While the health-care profession has general underlying principles that are universal across different parts of the world, some important regulations and practices differ greatly from country to country. The adaptation training seeks to give Syrian health workers the knowledge and experience they need in order to be fully competent and skilled in the Turkish setting. They must first apply for the programme and go through a selection process. Once approved by the Ministry of Health, they undergo a 1-week classroom training with Turkish university professors and lecturers, followed by 6 weeks of on-the -job training in a Refugee Health Centre. By working under the mentorship of Turkish health professionals for several weeks, they are able to familiarize themselves with the Turkish health system and prepare to provide care within this system. They are also evaluated at each stage of the training process before becoming certified to work in Turkey, helping to ensure good results for Syrian patients in the country.

“These trainings are not only a way to address language barriers but a good example of the collaboration between national and international partners in Turkey to help the integration of Syrian medical doctors, nurses and midwives to serve the community of refugees. We appreciate that the Government of Turkey, the Ministry of Health and Turkish health staff ensure equitable access to health services. And we consider this a one-of-a-kind collaboration among WHO, academia and the Ministry of Health to set an example for other countries, accommodating high numbers of refugees and migrants,” comments Dr Pavel Ursu, WHO Representative to Turkey.

WHO supports the classroom portion of the training, in collaboration with the Ministry, and is committed to making sure that Syrian health professionals are equipped with the essential theoretical background for their future career. In addition, WHO provides trainees with financial support for the duration of practical training to cover living expenses and travel costs.

Follow the links below and watch the video to learn more about the ways WHO’s work supports Syrian refugees in Turkey.

World Refugee Day: #WithRefugees

Each year on 20 June, the world commemorates the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees. In a world where violence forces thousands of families to flee for their lives each day, World Refugee Day offers an opportunity for the global public to once again show that it stands with them. The United Nations Refugee Agency launched the #WithRefugees petition in June 2016 to send a message to governments that they must work together and combine their efforts to ensure the health and well-being of the world’s refugees.


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