On pathways for admission of Syrian Refugees

A one-day, high-level meeting on global responsibility sharing through pathways for admission of Syrian refugees was held 30 March 2016 in Geneva .

The meeting was bookended by the 4 February 2016 Supporting Syria conference in London, the 23-24 May 2016 World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, and the 19 September 2016 Summit Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants in New York.

Via UNHCR,

The focus of the March 30 conference is the need for expanded, multi-year programmes of resettlement and other forms of humanitarian admission, including involving countries that till now have not been involved in such initiatives.

Resettlement is not the only aim. Other such pathways include humanitarian transfer or visas, private sponsorship, medical evacuation, family reunion, academic scholarship, and apprenticeships or labour schemes. The event will also showcase innovative approaches, new partnerships, and successful case studies, and is an opportunity for governments around the world to be part of finding solutions for Syrian refugees.

The meeting will be attended by representatives of some 92 countries, 10 inter- governmental organizations, nine UN agencies and 24 non-government organizations. Speakers will include UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UN High Commissioner for Refugees Grandi, together with representatives from key refugee-hosting governments.

Some pledges of additional resettlement and other humanitarian admission places are expected to be announced on Wednesday. However, given today’s complex international context and with Syria’s conflict continuing, additional places will be needed over the coming months and years, in particular to address the needs of the most vulnerable refugees and to relieve pressure on Syria’s neighbours. In line with refugee situations elsewhere, UNHCR estimates that as many as 10 per cent of Syria’s 4.8 million refugees fall into this category, and that well over 450,000 places will be needed before the end of 2018.

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On creative solutions [2]

UDI’s Director, Frode Forfang, recently wrote a blog post about rethinking the international refugee regime (det internasjonale flyktningregimet) by – if I understand him correctly – doing away with asylum in favor of a European-based quota system —

La oss tenke oss et helt annet system. Et system der Europa hvert år tok imot opptil flere hundre tusen flyktninger på kvote og fordelte dem mellom landene. Antallet kunne variere fra år til år og tilpasses den aktuelle flyktningsituasjonen. I et Europa med rundt 500 millioner innbyggere, ville det vært en relativt overkommelig oppgave. En forutsetning for å skape folkelig og politisk vilje til noe slikt, er imidlertid at det eksisterende systemet der retten til å søke asyl er grunnlaget for det internasjonale flyktningregimet, opphører i sin nåværende form.

He ends by noting,

Å endre det internasjonale flyktningregimet er selvsagt ingen enkel sak. Retten til å søke asyl er en del av folkeretten. Også EU-retten regulerer dette. En endring må ha et humanitært grunnlag, og må blant annet kunne sikre flyktninger en akutt nødhavn. Men en ny ordning må også ta utgangspunkt i en erkjennelse av at dagens system verken ivaretar grunnleggende humanitære prinsipper eller statenes rett til å styre innvandringen. I mellomtiden står asylretten sterkt som det eneste alternativet vi har.

It unleashed a whole host of responses —

related: 07.01.2016: UDI-direktøren oppsummerte asylåret 2015 (UDI)

On creative solutions

[updated as further suggestions pop up]