New beginning in a third country
Some refugees cannot go home or are unwilling to do so because upon return they would face continued persecution. Many are also living in perilous situations or have specific needs that cannot be addressed in the country where they have first sought asylum.
In such circumstances, UNHCR helps resettle refugees in a third country as the only safe and viable durable solution. At global level, usually about one percent of the refugees are submitted by the agency for resettlement. The resettlement country provides the refugee with legal and physical protection, including access to civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights similar to those enjoyed by the country’s nationals. Refugees should also have the opportunity to eventually become naturalized citizens.
Resettlement is a life-changing experience. It is both challenging and rewarding. Refugees are often resettled to a country where the society, language and culture are completely different and new to them. Providing for their effective reception and integration is beneficial for both the resettled refugee and the receiving country. Governments and non-governmental organizations provide services to facilitate their integration, such as cultural orientation, language and vocational training as well as programmes to promote access to education and employment.
Only a small number of states currently take part in UNHCR resettlement programmes. The United States is the world's top resettlement country, while Australia, Canada and the Nordic countries also provide a sizeable number of places annually. In recent years there has been an increase in the number of countries involved in resettlement in Europe and Latin America.
In the seven countries of Central Europe UNHCR Regional Representation advocates for the establishment of small-scale resettlement programmes. Some countires in the region have undertaken first steps towards that goal.
Romania and Slovakia have established emergency resettlement facilities, in Timisoara (Romania) and Humenne (Slovakia) that evacuate refugees who face a serious risk in the first country of refuge. While their resettlement process and onward movement is processed, these facilities ensure them a chance to live in a safe and secure environment in a location where services and assistance are also available. Furthermore, these facilities offer resettlement countries a stable location where resettlement procedures, such as interviews, language and cultural orientation courses, can be carried out.
The two centres are co-financed by UNHCR that also provides expert advice relating to management and protection questions.
UNHCR in Central Europe also partakes in the EUREMA project that relocates refugees recognized in Malta to other EU Member States.