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UK Statement to the UNHCR Standing Committee on Resettlement, delivered in Geneva

UK Statement to the UNHCR Standing Committee, 21 June 2016.

UNHCR is headquartered in Geneva
UNHCR is headquartered in Geneva

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen.

Since the 1990’s, the UK has worked successfully with UNHCR to identify and resettle those that are most in need through our Gateway and Mandate, and Syrian Vulnerable Persons resettlement programmes. The UK announced in September 2015 that it would resettle up to 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next 5 years under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons resettlement programme. The UK works closely with UNHCR to ensure that their outreach activities identify and support the most vulnerable, and our partnership with UNHCR has allowed us to find solutions for an increasing amount of refugees in need of urgent protection solutions.

Our commitment to offering resettlement as a durable solution has been highlighted in the last twelve months through the expansion of our Syrian Resettlement Programme and further with the recent announcement that we will take up to 3000 more individuals; providing a specific route for children at risk and their families. This commitment by the UK has been supported by UNHCR through a significant uplift in the number of submissions we received and we are thankful for the hard work and flexibility that UNHCR has demonstrated in allowing us to meet our resettlement commitments.

UNHCR’s commitment to scaling up its capacity for resettlement through deployment of resettlement, registration and community-based protection staff has been vital to their continued effectiveness. The UK was pleased to provide funding that supported the augmentation of UNHCR’s capability and we remain committed to assisting UNHCR in the deployment of appropriate resources going forward.

UNHCR’s training and efficiency initiatives, particularly in the MENA region, have been instrumental in facilitating the quick processing and referral of cases and we welcome your plans to further strengthening those practices. The UK also welcomes the steps taken to improve the integrity of UNHCR processes, including in the area of biometrics, and we will continue to work with UNHCR to promote efficient and secure processing modalities.

UNHCR’s overall resettlement strategy of increasing quotas, engaging with emerging resettlement countries and enhancing the efficiency and integrity of the resettlement process is positive and we look forward to continuing our close cooperation in the years to come.

In this regard we stress that a more sustainable global response is urgently needed to ensure a shared global responsibility for the protection of refugees. We must broaden global responsibility sharing on voluntary resettlement of refugees, ensuring protection for those who are forcibly displaced and support to those who host them. The UK looks forward to discussions ahead of the UNGA High Level Event both on its outcomes and its enduring legacy.

Thank you Mr Chairman.

Published 21 June 2016