Irish Refugee and Migrant Coalition call on Irish government to increase commitment to refugee resettlement
The Irish Refugee and Migrant Coalition, a group of more than 20 organisations, today called on Ireland to increase its commitment to refugee resettlement.
It is estimated by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) that, worldwide, 1.44 million people will be in need of resettlement in 2020. Resettlement is an important act of solidarity both with vulnerable refugees and with the countries bordering conflict -affected regions, which currently host the majority of the world’s refugees.
Ireland has welcomed almost 2,600 persons under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP) in the four years since its establishment in September 2015, on average receiving 650 persons per annum. This month is the deadline for Ireland to announce the number of resettlement places it is committing to over the next two years. The Coalition recommends that:
- Ireland commit to at least 1,500 resettlement places annually in the period 2020-22
- Ireland lead in a new Mediterranean search and rescue mission and the development a mechanism for sharing responsibility
Eugene Quinn, Director of Jesuit Refugee Service Ireland, said:
"A significantly enhanced and adequately resourced refugee resettlement programme will be needed, if Ireland is to meet its fair share of the projected Global Resettlement Need over the coming years. JRS Ireland estimates this would require the Irish Government to commit to an additional 1,500 resettlement places annually in the period 2020-22. Despite the challenging housing context, Ireland can and should do more to offer protection and refuge to families, children and individuals forcibly displaced from their homes across the world, who are among the most vulnerable on the planet."
Fiona Finn, CEO of Nasc, Migrant and Refugee Rights, said:
“Over 900 people have drowned attempting to cross the Mediterranean this year alone. It is of the utmost importance that we provide safe and legal pathways for refugees fleeing persecution so that no one is forced to make the choice to put their child in a boat. Resettlement and relocation are integral parts of providing those pathways, however, complementary pathways such as community sponsorship and humanitarian admission programmes are also essential. Over the lifetime of the former Irish Refugee and Protection Programme, we have seen that there is a huge amount of goodwill and resolve to help in communities throughout Ireland who want to proactively play their part in addressing this crisis. The pilot Community Sponsorship programme welcomed its first family in December 2018 in Dunshaughlin and since then 3 more families have arrived in Ireland. There are several more communities preparing to welcome refugees. We call on the State to ensure that additional allocations are made for community sponsorship and humanitarian admission programmes in making their pledges to the EU this week.”
In the context of ongoing loss of life in the Mediterranean Nick Henderson, CEO of the Irish Refugee Council said:
“We strongly commend the Government’s decision, made in August, to relocate up to 100 people from search and rescue boats in the Mediterranean. In the longer term however it is necessary for a more coherent and sustainable plan to rescue people. The Tánaiste Simon Coveney has repeatedly said this. The change in Government in Italy and the fact that Operation Sophia is up for review at the end of September is a real opportunity for Ireland to lead in both a new, State lead, search and rescue mission and a mechanism for sharing responsibility. The Irish navy has rescued more than 18,000 people over 11 missions and has strong role to play.”
- Nick Henderson, CEO, Irish Refugee Council: 0858585559
- Fiona Hurley, Policy and Communications Manager, Nasc, Migrant and Refugee Rights: 0871043284
- The Irish Refugee and Migrant Coalition was founded in August 2015, and is comprised of 23 leading Irish organisations that seek to advance the rights and dignity of people on the move and those in need of international protection.
- In October 2017 the Coalition published ‘Pathways to Protection and Inclusion, Ireland’s role in global refugee protection and migration movements’ which included recommendations on safe and legal pathways to protection and the basis for projecting Ireland’s fair share of the Global Resettlement Need.
- Jesuit Refugee Ireland’s report, ‘Sharing Responsibility, Saving Lives’ is available here.
- The Department of Justice and Equality said in August 2019 that Ireland would accept the relocation of up to 100 asylum seekers from this summer until the end of 2019.
- Community Sponsorship launched in Ireland in March 2019.
 Action Aid Ireland, Amnesty International Ireland, Association of Leaders of Missionaries & Religious of Ireland, Christian Aid Ireland, Comhlamh, Community Work Ireland, Crosscare, Cultur, Dochas, Doras Luimni
ENAR Ireland, Immigrant Council of Ireland, Irish Refugee Council, Jesuit Refugee Service Ireland, Mercy International, Migrant Rights Centre Ireland, Nasc, the Migrant and Refugee Rights Centre, National Women's Council of Ireland, Oxfam Ireland, Trocaire, World Vision International