"Paving the way": New handbook provides ‘rich inspiration’ for refugee resettlement in Europe
BRUSSELS, 7 June 2011—Joined by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Catholic Migration Commission launched today a new handbook for policy makers and local practitioners working in the area of refugee reception and integration.
Entitled, Paving the way: A handbook on the reception and integration of resettled refugees, the innovative publication compiled by ICMC provides practical ideas and inspiration for facilitating integration once refugees have arrived in their country of resettlement. It comes as the fruit of an 18-month project that linked European actors from the full spectrum of the refugee resettlement process for greater cooperation on related initiatives, with funding from the European Commission’s European Refugee Fund.
“Although there are many different programmes, groups and actors, this project has demonstrated yet again that the needs of refugees across Europe are similar, and so are the challenges”, noted ICMC Resettlement Coordinator, Hazel Williams at the publication’s launch. “It is true that no one size fits all when it comes to planning programmes, but much can be learned from existing experiences”.
Attended by over 80 representatives of EU Member States, civil society resettlement actors, the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Asylum Support Office, Tuesday’s event marked the conclusion of a joint project carried out by IOM, UNHCR and ICMC that has generated a wealth of information on resettlement practices in Europe and significantly strengthened networking amongst resettlement professionals.
The European Commission has recently announced that it will continue its commitment to the initiative by providing funding support for a second phase, which will bolster the expertise of European practitioners at all stages of the resettlement and integration process through mutual exchange, and seek to include more Member States.
“The active engagement of communities in the resettlement process is a vital part of making sure that refugees receive a warm welcome and are able to integrate as contributing members of their new community”, noted ICMC Resettlement Coordinator, Hazel Williams at the launch event on Tuesday. “This handbook provides examples and tips on how communities can be further involved”.
In addition to providing practical information and guidance, Paving the way presents a number of key recommendations, ranging from increasing support for resettlement and expanding the number of resettlement places, to building policies for integration and social cohesion, improving stakeholder planning and cooperation, ensuring that strategic decisions on refugee placement within local communities is based on an understanding of his/her needs, and putting in place essential services and support mechanisms prior to embarking on a resettlement programme.
“Our organizations [IOM, UNHCR and ICMC] are convinced that proper planning for refugee resettlement starts well before the refugee arrives in his or her new country, and includes all those involved in reception and integration”, underscored ICMC Programme Manager, Petra Hueck. “We hope that this publication will provide useful insight into the reception and integration of resettled refugees, and that it will reinforce and encourage refugee resettlement in the European Union. The many successful practices described in Paving the way provide rich inspiration for all those seeking to engage in refugee resettlement”.
* * *
For more information, please contact: