According to the UNHCR, only 22,770 were resettled in 2020, when 114 million refugees are in desperate need of resettlement all over the world. This is by far the lowest percentage in refugees’ resettlement in almost two decades.
This drop-in resettlement is due to the low quotas of refugees that each state is willing to receive, as well as due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, which resulted in significant delays in departures and programmes’ implementation.
The UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Gillian Triggs called for states to offer more places to refugees in need of resettlement and expedite the process of refugees’ case examination. He also expressed his hopes that 2020 would be regarded as an extreme anomaly in refugees’ settlement, one that will not be reproduced. Lastly, he underlined that the pandemic made 2020 even more difficult for refugees, who are struggling to survive.
Nevertheless, the UNHCR remains optimistic, since 20 countries continued their programme even amidst the pandemic, by processing and receiving refugees throughout the whole year. Many of these countries have put in place innovative and flexible ways to make their resettlement programs work. The three main countries where resettled refugees originated from is Syria, Myanmar, and Congo.
Nowadays, 85 percent of the 20.4 million refugees who are under UNHCR’s mandate live in developing regions. Resettlement is a way for the states to provide a more solid protection for the refugees, to demonstrate solidary as well as to prevent host countries from having to take care of all displaced population. But refugees have also a lot to offer since they are can be reunited with their families, be active in a country’s job market, as well as in education.
Resettlement is the key objective of the Global Compact on refugees launched by a cooperation of governments, NGOs, civil society actors, and the UNHCR.