This 2023 figure represents a 36 per cent increase over this year’s resettlement needs of 1.47 million, according to the 2023 Global Resettlement Needs Assessment released today by the United Nations High Commissioner United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
“This increase is attributed to the humanitarian impacts of the pandemic, the multitude of various protracted refugee situations and the emergence of new displacement situations over the past year,” said during a regular press briefing. of the UN in Geneva, Shabia Mantoo, UNHCR spokesperson.
For the seventh consecutive year, Syrian refugees (approximately 777,800) are among those with the highest resettlement needs. “The Syrian crisis remains the biggest refugee situation in the world,” said Ms. Mantoo.
Syrian and Afghan refugees have highest resettlement needs
Refugees from Afghanistan – forcibly displaced during different periods of the country’s turbulent history – are estimated to have the second highest resettlement need globally (around 14%, or some 274,000 people). They are followed by refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (10%, or some 190,400 people), South Sudan (117,600 people) and Myanmar (more than 114,000 people, mainly stateless Rohingyas).
More broadly, most of the needs in 2023 will come from countries of asylum on the African continent. UNHCR estimates that some 662,012 refugees hosted there are in need of resettlement. Sub-Saharan Africa is closely followed by the Middle East and North Africa (463,930) and Turkey (417,200).
Resettlement remains an indispensable tool to ensure the protection of some of the most exposed people or people with specific needs that cannot be met in the country where they have requested protection. Of all resettlement requests submitted by UNHCR last year, 37% were for people in need of legal and physical protection. At the same time, 32% of people survived violence and/or torture and 17% were women, adolescents and children at risk.
UNHCR advocates flexible resettlement quotas
Resettlement – which involves moving refugees from a country of asylum to a country that has agreed to welcome them and grant them permanent settlement – is only available to a tiny fraction of refugees worldwide. At the height of the pandemic in 2020, refugee resettlement plummeted to a record low, with just 22,800 departures that year.
As departures almost doubled in 2021, to 39,266, UNHCR is calling on States to help close the gap between the number of people in need of resettlement and the places available. It is thus a question of making foreseeable and multi-annual commitments in terms of resettlement.
For the UN agency, states must adopt “flexible resettlement quotas”, so that places are allocated according to urgent needs around the world. UNHCR calls on States to expedite resettlement processing and departure arrangements and to sustainably strengthen their processing capacities and reception facilities.