COVID-19: UN Refugee and Migration Agencies Announce Temporary Suspension of Resettlement Travel for Refugees


Romania. Refugees evacuated from Libya to Emergency Transit CentreA group of Sudanese refugees arrive at an emergency transit centre in Timisoara, Romania, in December 2018. Recently evacuated from Libya, they were awaiting emergency resettlement.   © UNHCR/Ioana Epure

Refugee families are being directly impacted by these quickly evolving regulations in the course of their travel, with some experiencing extensive delays while others have been stranded or separated from family members.

In addition, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and IOM, the International Organization for Migration, are concerned that international travel could increase the exposure of refugees to the virus.

As a result, IOM and UNHCR are taking steps to suspend resettlement departures for refugees. This is a temporary measure that will be in place only for as long as it remains essential.

As resettlement remains a life-saving tool for many refugees, UNHCR and IOM are appealing to States, and working in close coordination with them, to ensure that movements can continue for the most critical emergency cases wherever possible. The suspension will begin to take effect within the next few days as the two agencies attempt to bring those refugees who have already cleared all formalities to their intended destinations.

Resettlement provides a vital lifeline for particularly vulnerable refugees, and IOM and UNHCR will continue their work in refugee-hosting countries, in collaboration with all relevant partners, to ensure that the processing of cases for resettlement continues. We will also remain in close contact with refugees themselves and all of the agencies that work to support the use of resettlement as a critical protection measure.

Both agencies look forward to resuming full resettlement travel as soon as prudence and logistics permit.

*SOURCE: UNHCR. Go to ORIGINAL.

2020 Human Wrongs Watch

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