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Resettlement of refugees: promoting greater solidarity

Doc. 13460: collection of written amendments | Doc. 13460 | Final version

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ADraft Resolution

1The Parliamentary Assembly notes that in certain circumstances it is necessary to resettle refugees from their country of asylum to a receiving State.
2There are many reasons for this, including limitations on the capacity of the country of first asylum to provide a durable solution, or concerns that the refugees may still be in an unsafe situation and threatened with refoulement, or that they may have particular vulnerabilities or humanitarian needs.
3The Assembly considers that resettlement has three main objectives, namely to provide access to protection, to ensure lasting solutions and to strengthen solidarity and responsibility sharing between States.
4R esettlement is conducted according to categories that have been established by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). It is organised, in co-operation with the receiving countries, primarily by the UNHCR, with the support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and often in partnership with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC).
5Resettlement is not a new process, as it was used to a great extent after the Second World War, for example in the case of Hungarian refugees who had fled to Austria and Yugoslavia following the Soviet invasion of Hungary. It was also used for the large-scale resettlement of boat people who fled Vietnam in the 1980s, and now continues to be used around the world in a range of situations for individuals, families and groups with particular vulnerabilities.
6For 2014, the UNHCR has estimated that globally 691 000 people are in need of resettlement, though only 80 000 resettlement places are currently available. This does not include the additional 30 000 places urgently needed in view of the massive outflow of refugees from Syria into neighbouring countries and the deteriorating situation both in Syria and its neighbouring countries.

In the draft resolution, replace paragraph 6 with the following paragraph:

"For 2014, the UNHCR has estimated that globally 958 429 people are in need of resettlement, though only 80 000 resettlement places are currently available. This does not include the additional call for 30 000 places needed in 2014 following the massive outflow of refugees from Syria into neighbouring countries and the deteriorating situation both in Syria and its neighbouring countries."

Explanatory note

This amendment updates figures. The word “urgently” was deleted because for 2014, the call has been fulfilled

7The Assembly is concerned to note that out of 47 member States of the Council of Europe, only 20 engaged in resettlement programmes in 2013. They supply in total only 5 500 out of the nearly 80 000 resettlement places available globally. It is clear that Europe can and should do more.

In the draft resolution, paragraph 7, replace the figure "5 500" with the following figure: "around 7 000".

Explanatory note

This amendment updates figures.

8In relation to Syria, there have been some commendable efforts by member States in providing asylum or humanitarian protection for Syrian asylum seekers and also admitting Syrian refugees under resettlement, humanitarian admission or other programmes. Yet, only 16 member States have participated in the UNHCR’s call for the admission of 30 000 Syrian refugees in 2014, and more than 11 000 places are still needed.

In the draft resolution, replace paragraph 8 with the following paragraph:

"In relation to Syria, there have been some commendable efforts by member States in providing asylum or humanitarian protection for Syrian asylum seekers and also admitting Syrian refugees under resettlement, humanitarian admission and other programmes. 17 member States have participated in the UNHCR’s call for the admission of 30 000 Syrian refugees in 2014. Yet, the UNHCR has called member States to commit towards providing urgently an additional 100 000 places for Syrian refugees for 2015-2016."

Explanatory note

This amendment updates figures.

9The Assembly notes that, despite the support of the pilot project funded by the European Union (EUREMA), which is designed to relocate, with the support of the IOM, beneficiaries of international protection from Malta to other European Union member States, Malta is still straining to cope with the number of asylum seekers, refugees and beneficiaries of international protection that it receives.
10Malta is not the only country and the Assembly remains concerned about the significant pressure on certain member States, especially on the borders of the European Union, in terms of receiving many people with international protection needs.
11The Assembly highlights that resettlement is not a migration management issue but is a humanitarian decision deriving from member States’ international legal obligation to protect any individual who satisfies the UNHCR’s definitions of persons of concern.

In the draft resolution, replace paragraph 11 with the following paragraph:

"The Assembly highlights that resettlement is not a migration management issue but is a humanitarian decision deriving from member States’ international responsibility to protect any individual who satisfies the UNHCR’s definitions of persons of concern."

Explanatory note

This amendment corrects the sentence which previously stipulated that there is an "international legal obligation to protect persons of concern", which is legally incorrect - member states have to protect individuals from refoulement, and once they are in their jurisdiction.

12The Parliamentary Assembly therefore invites Council of Europe member States to:
12.1increase substantially the number of places available for the resettlement and relocation of beneficiaries of international protection;
12.2increase the speed and flexibility of resettlement/relocation programmes by:
12.2.1refraining from implementing cumbersome procedures and criteria that would delay the resettlement process for people in need of urgent protection and solutions;
12.2.2adopting simplified procedures and innovative measures to provide more immediate protection to the most vulnerable in times of large-scale forced displacement;
12.2.3adopting an inclusive and flexible approach in the consideration of resettlement cases;
12.3improve co-ordination and the allocation of funds when carrying out resettlement/relocation programmes by:
12.3.1improving the co-ordination of actors in the process, at international, national, regional and local levels,
12.3.2providing sufficient funds and human resources to carry out the programmes effectively;
12.3.3supporting and working with civil society and local authorities;
12.3.4supporting the exchange of best practices in the various existing forums;
12.4ensure the sustainability of any resettlement and relocation programmes by enhancing the national capacity to integrate resettled/relocated persons by:
12.4.1carrying out pre-departure orientation and health assessment programmes;
12.4.2providing the resettled/relocated persons and their family or dependants with access to rights similar to those enjoyed by nationals of the receiving State, including integration services, information on their rights and obligations relating to their protection status in a language they understand, adequate housing, access to work and training opportunities, social welfare and health care;
12.4.3raising public awareness of the resettlement processes, and creating a dialogue between the welcoming society and the resettled/relocated refugees;
12.4.4enhancing co-operation with civil society and the media;
12.5implement anti-fraud measures to ensure that only those with the most genuine needs are incorporated into standard operating procedures for all resettlement operations.
13In relation to the emergency humanitarian situation created by the Syrian crisis, the Assembly urges member States to:
13.1increase their pledges to welcome Syrian refugees and other people who seek refuge elsewhere due to the Syrian crisis, on the basis of resettlement, humanitarian admission and other forms of admission, in order to ensure that 30 000 Syrians benefit from international protection by the end of 2014, as well as the 100 000 places needed for 2015 and 2016;

In the draft resolution, paragraph 13.1, delete the following words: "that 30 000 Syrians benefit from international protection by the end of 2014, as well as".

Explanatory note

This amendment updates figures.

13.2explore innovative solutions such as simplified and expedited family reunion for both refugees and subsidiary protection holders, and the extension of student or employment-related visas.
14The Assembly encourages member States to continue supporting Malta in facing significant mixed migration flows, and to extend their support to other countries in difficulty in Europe.
15The Assembly invites member States to make full use of the loans available from the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) and encourages the CEB to look favourably on any such requests.
16The Assembly invites member States of the European Union to apply to the Asylum, Migrant and Integration Fund (AMIF) for support of their resettlement programmes.

BDraft Recommendation

1The Parliamentary Assembly, referring to its Resolution … (2014) “Resettlement of refugees: promoting greater solidarity”, considers that Europe has a binding responsibility to protect those seeking international protection, and has a long tradition of so doing.
2In light of uneven and growing pressures on member States of the Council of Europe in terms of irregular migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, it is important to examine methods of solidarity and responsibility sharing. Resettlement and other innovative solutions for urgent humanitarian admission from third countries, as well as relocation under the pilot project funded by the European Union (EUREMA), are ways in which to share responsibility further.
3The Parliamentary Assembly therefore urges the Committee of Ministers to consider holding a thematic debate on the issue of the resettlement of refugees in member States in order to:
3.1raise public awareness of the existing steps being taken by member States and best practices;
3.2encourage more State pledges to meet the resettlement and humanitarian admission needs in view of the large-scale forced displacement induced by the Syrian crisis, in addition to the global resettlement needs of 691 000 places;

In the draft recommendation, paragraph 3.2, replace the figure "691 000" with the following figure: "958 429".

Explanatory note

This amendment updates figures.

3.3support Malta in facing significant mixed migration flows, and extend support to other countries in difficulty in Europe such as Bulgaria, Greece, Italy and Turkey, as appropriate;

In the draft recommendation, paragraph 3.3, delete the following words: "such as Bulgaria, Greece, Italy and Turkey".

Explanatory note

This amendment is to avoid naming countries in difficulty, because the northern countries may also be affected by mixed migratory flows.

3.4provide a forum for non-European Union member States to be involved along with European Union member States in the discussion on resettlement and relocation;

In the draft recommendation, replace paragraph 3.4 with the following paragraph:

"provide a forum and encourage better use of the existing fora open to non-European Union member States, including the Annual Tripartite Consultations on Resettlement, to discuss resettlement and relocation;"

3.5consider means for the Council of Europe Development Bank to be more involved in the process of resettlement.