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Noticias Noticias de España UNHCR welcomes the arrival of some 200 refugees to Spain under a resettlement program

UNHCR welcomes the arrival of some 200 refugees to Spain under a resettlement program Imprimir

UNHCR welcomes styrian refugees at Madrid-Barajas airport, earlier on 2017 (© ACNUR/UNHCR/Juan Ramón Peña).
UNHCR welcomes styrian refugees at Madrid-Barajas airport, earlier on 2017 (© ACNUR/UNHCR/Juan Ramón Peña).
MADRID, Spain, 21st July 2017 (UNHCR) - The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, welcomes the arrival in Spain of 204 Syrian refugees from Lebanon yesterday as part of the Spanish Government resettlement program under the EU Migration Agenda.

Around 15:30 yesterday afternoon, a flight from Beirut landed at the airport of Madrid-Barajas bringing what has been to date the largest group of Syrian refugees under the current resettlement program.

The refugees, 41 men, 40 women and 123 children, were received by staff from the Ministry of Employment and Social Services, IOM, representatives of UNHCR as well as teams from asylum NGOs which will provide them with accommodation throughout different regions in Spain.

The group is mainly composed of refugee families who have stayed for months or years in Lebanon and were identified by UNHCR as in need of resettlement, their cases being therefore submitted before the Spanish authorities for consideration. The resettled refugees were interviewed by a multidisciplinary team composed by staff from ministries concerned that went on mission to the country last May.

Resettlement is an international protection tool promoted by UNHCR and constitutes also a legal and safe pathway for refugees remaining in countries of first asylum and in situation of special vulnerability.

Under the EU Migration Agenda, Spain committed to resettle 1,449 Syrian refugees between 2015 and 2017, of whom 631 have already arrived in Spain from Turkey (195) and Lebanon (436). Both are among the top countries in refugee reception worldwide and facing enormous pressure with more than 3 million, in the case of Turkey, and more than 1 million in Lebanon. Therefore, for these countries, substantive resettlement programs are a real mechanism of international solidarity and of responsibility sharing in terms of protection.

UNHCR estimates that the number of refugees worldwide requiring resettlement is 1.2 million, with priority countries of origin being Syria, Sudan, Afghanistan and Democratic Republic of Congo. However, the places made available in third countries fall short compared to the needs. In 2016, a total of 189,300 resettlement places were offered among 37 countries, with about 70% of the quotas coming from the United States and Canada.

The UN Refugee Agency will continue to support and encourage the Spanish authorities to fulfill the commitments made in resettlement programs and to make available and promote the opening of complementary safe avenues for persons in need of international protection. These include private sponsorship programs, humanitarian visas or student visas, which will help to prevent refugees from having to resort to human trafficking networks to reach safe countries and risk their lives.


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