UNHCR welcomes NZ’s strengthened commitment to refugees

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UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, welcomes New Zealand’s meaningful recommitment to refugee resettlement today in advance of the Global Refugee Forum in December.

In the context of historic levels of forced displacement, New Zealand’s three-year resettlement policy shows solidarity with host countries supporting large refugee populations around the world.

“This announcement, just months before the inaugural Global Refugee Forum, sends an important message to the world that every country can make a difference in sharing responsibility for the global refugee situation” UNHCR’s Regional Representative, Louise Aubin said.

“UNHCR welcomes today’s shift in New Zealand policy that means irrespective of their location around the world, refugees have the opportunity to restart their lives in a safe and welcoming community.”

84 per cent of the world’s 25.9 million refugees live in developing countries, with the vast majority in countries neighbouring their homelands like Bangladesh, Uganda and Lebanon.

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Resettlement is a lifeline for refugees who cannot return home or settle in the country where they have sought safety.

In 2018, only 92,400 refugees were resettled, less than 7 per cent of the refugees UNHCR identified as in need of resettlement. In the face of these needs, women at risk, people with disabilities, unaccompanied children and survivors of violence and torture are prioritized.

UNHCR welcomes the opportunity to continue its longstanding partnership with New Zealand to address these priority resettlement needs.