ICMC Europe launches scoping paper on private sponsorship

Brussels, 18 August 2017 - On 18 September, ICMC Europe will present a scoping research paper on community-based private sponsorship during a one-day conference in Brussels, bringing together around 40 Christian organizations with the overall goal of working together towards a common understanding of, and involvement in, sponsorship of refugees.

Syrian refugee family in Lebanon: waiting for departure to start their new life in safety.Syrian refugee family in Lebanon: waiting for departure to start their new life in safety. Photo: ICMC/ G. Dingemas Fulfilling their roles as frontliners of humanitarian assistance and protection, faith-based organizations have repeatedly called for safe passage, urging decision makers to make more resettlement spaces available while opening complementary legal pathways, such as community-based private sponsorship programmes, extended family reunification and student scholarship programmes.

Churches and faith-based communities can play an important role in facilitating such programmes, ensuring a sustainable and long-term engagement of civil society in the resettlement and integration of refugees. ICMC Europe envisions “private sponsorship” as a public-private-partnership endorsing legal entry for certain refugees through private actors' financial, social and/or emotional support. Existing programs like the Humanitarian Corridors in Italy and France, led by a coalition of faith-based actors, have been key pioneers in expanding refugee protection beyond meaningful levels in Europe.

ICMC Europe, within the framework of the European Resettlement Network (ERN+) and in partnership with the Churches' Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME), is organising the conference ‘Engaging Churches in the Sponsorship of Refugees', during which the scoping paper will be launched, to identify best practices and challenges, and make recommendations as ways forward.

Community-based private sponsorships provide an outstanding, concrete engagement in solidarity and solution-sharing, forging a more welcoming environment for refugees and migrants whilst actively countering frightening tides of exclusion and xenophobia.