Ireland commits to a new Refugee Protection Programme
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Ireland will welcome up to 2,900 refugees between 2020 and 2023 through a combination of resettlement and community sponsorship under the plans unveiled today by the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, and his colleague, the Minister of State with responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton TD.
Under the plans, a new phase of the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP) will see 650 UNHCR resettlements in 2020, 700 in 2021, 750 in 2022 and 800 in 2023. The arrivals for the first two years will largely comprise Syrian refugees resident in Jordan and Lebanon, along with a pilot group of 150 Eritrean refugees resident in Ethiopia.
The European Commission will provide funding of €9m to support the resettlement of 900 people between early 2020 and June 2021.
Commenting on the programme Minister Flanagan said:
“The humanitarian situation in a number of regions around the world remains particularly acute. In Syria alone there are over 11 million people, including 6 million children, that are desperate for help. It is only right and proper that Ireland plays its part and offers a helping hand to those less fortunate than ourselves.
“This new phase of the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP) will build on the work we have been doing since 2015 to resettle thousands of people. I’m proud that as a dedicated and active member of the international community, we continue to uphold our responsibilities in helping those fleeing the most harrowing circumstances including war and persecution.
“My Department is working on a whole of Government basis to ensure that appropriate services are in place for those coming to Ireland as part of resettlement programmes now and in the period to 2023.”
Speaking following his speech at the Global Refugee Forum in Geneva Minister Stanton said:
“Faced with the largest flows of displaced people since the Second World War, it is vital that we act – collectively, determinedly and urgently, to implement the Global Compact on Refugees.
“It is important that Ireland continues to play its part in acting as a safe haven for people in need of protection and humanitarian support. This new phase of the IRPP will take up to 2900 people between 2020 and 2023 through a combination of resettlement and community sponsorship.
“We want to ensure that refugees who arrive in Ireland feel fully integrated into the community. That is why we want to expand our Community Sponsorship programme as it enables everyday people to support refugees and to extend hands of friendship and welcome to them when they arrive to Ireland. I invite communities and citizens all over the country who want to assist refugee peoples and families to consider the newly launched Community Sponsorship Programme and to set up groups in their own areas. See www.integration.ie for further information,” Minister Stanton said.
Note for Editors
The Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP) was established by Government Decision of September 2015 as a key part of Ireland’s response to the global humanitarian migration crisis. It committed Ireland to accept 4,000 persons under various strands, including the EU Relocation Mechanism and UNHCR-led Resettlement Programme. As of 17 December 2019, 3,151 persons have arrived under the IRPP including 51 refugees who arrived today. Progress across the various strands of the IRPP is as follows:
The EU Relocation strand is now complete. A further 55 persons will arrive under the UNHCR Resettlement strand before the end of the year, leaving a balance of 72 people to be resettled from Lebanon and Jordan to meet the full commitment. Staff from the Department of Justice and Equality will travel to Beirut early in 2020 to finalise processes in relation to these 72 people. In relation to the IHAP strand, those granted permission to travel to Ireland make their own arrangements for travel, therefore the exact timing of the completion of this strand is not known at this time.
Community Sponsorship Ireland (CSI) is an alternative form of accommodation for refugees, which sees communities come forward and welcome refugee families into their area. The local group provides supports around access to housing and to different state services. Refugees arrive in Ireland following selection by UNHCR and a vetting process overseen by Irish Refugee Protection Programme.
There has been a pilot programme running in Ireland since 2018 and the feedback from refugee families and communities has been overwhelmingly positive. During this pilot phase, 5 refugee families (17 persons) have been welcomed to host community groups in counties Cork, Waterford and Meath.
The Pilot phase has concluded and has now entered implementation phase with applications accepted on an ongoing basis. Two further families were received by host communities in Kildare and Dublin this month, with a further family expected to be received by the Kinsale Community Sponsorship group in the coming days.
Minister Stanton, who has noted the mutually beneficial relationships that grows from Community Sponsorship, is asking other communities to consider inviting a refugee family into their locality in a spirit of friendship and co-operation.
National Statement, Ireland
Global Refugee Forum, 17-18 December, 2019
Delivered by David Stanton T.D., Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration
Check against Delivery
I would like to thank UNHCR for convening this important Forum.
Faced with the largest flows of displaced people since the Second World War, it is vital that we act – collectively, determinedly and urgently, to implement the Global Compact on Refugees.
Our collective responsibility is to shift the landscape faced by the most vulnerable people on the planet.
Ireland was proud to be involved from the start of the process which led to the Global Compact on Refugees:
We will play a full part in seeing it implemented.
We believe that we need to act in three ways.
Firstly, we must offer support to those in need.
UNHCR, and other humanitarian organisations, work in some of the most challenging contexts around the world, and bring hope to those who need it most.
You have my thanks and those of my country.
I would also like to thank UNHCR for the essential support it provides to our domestic international protection process.
Ireland will continue to support you by advocating consistently for a safe and open humanitarian space, in which humanitarian actors can freely operate.
Financially, we have pledged €15.5 million to UNHCR for 2020.
We are acutely aware that the vast majority of refugees are in developing countries.
Ireland’s new development policy, A Better World, commits us to providing 0.7 per cent of GNI by 2030 in official development assistance.
We will target that assistance towards the furthest behind first.
Secondly, we must act with renewed urgency to tackle the underlying causes of displacement.
The reality is that conflict is the single greatest driver of humanitarian need. We cannot tackle displacement without determined action to help countries resolve and emerge from conflict.
Ireland is firmly committed to peacebuilding, and has a proud record of continuous provision of peacekeepers since we joined the UN 64 years ago this week.
Should Ireland be elected to the Security Council next year, we will focus our efforts on addressing the root causes of conflict.
Thirdly, we must make our own countries places of welcome for those in need.
For many decades, Ireland was a country of emigration.
Today, we are country which welcomes those from around the world.
These arrivals enrich our society, and we are proud to welcome their voices, experience and skills.
Today, my Government agreed to increase by one-third by 2023 the number of UNHCR refugees we bring to our country compared to our target for this year.
We will diversify the cohort we welcome, and will accelerate the complementary pathways we offer.
We want to ensure that refugees who arrive in Ireland feel fully integrated into the community.
Our Community Sponsorship programme enables citizens to support refugees and to extend hands of friendship and welcome to them when they arrive to Ireland.
If each country can take steps like these, we can shift the landscape from one of despair, to one of hope.
I wish the UNHCR, and all of us, every success as we take these vital steps to implement the Global Compact.
I look forward to hearing the commitments of others.