The initial situation
People having to flee from wars or disasters usually only make it to the neighboring regions which very often struggle to cope with the masses of refugees arriving. Worldwide, hundreds of thousands of refugees are stuck in refugee camps located near crisis regions without any perspective of leading a decent life. Only few of them are able and willing to risk their lives getting to Europe. Without help from the outside, many of them are unable to find protection.
The safe alternative for refugees
In such situations, the resettlement program comes into effect. Resettlement means the transfer and permanent settlement of refugees with special protection needs who cannot be permanently integrated into the country where they have sought refuge and whose return to their country of origin is not feasible or reasonable in the foreseeable future due to the prevailing conditions. Single women, single mothers, unaccompanied children and adolescents, persons suffering from trauma, victims of torture, elderly people, refugees with medical needs, and oppressed minorities are considered as refugees with special protection needs. The hardships of fleeing in order to seek refuge in a safe country are almost impossible for these persons to take on. Therefore, the resettlement program provides a safe way for them to achieve permanent protection in a third state that has agreed to admit them.
Why is resettlement important?
The resettlement program provides a safe alternative for refugees and prevents people from taking dangerous journeys. Thereby, it particularly prevents further deaths. Moreover, it is an instrument to take action against smugglers and traffickers – and often it is the only possibility to provide protection and a future in dignity as well as peace to people. With the admission to a developed country, the most vulnerable among the refugees get the chance of leading a normal life.
The refugees are granted complete protection by the third country admitting them. They are offered language and integration courses right from the beginning, receive a work permit as well as intensive assistance and are entitled to social benefits. In this way, they have the possibility to integrate into society.
Resettlement is rather considered as a complement to the provision of refugee protection to be applied in emergency situations than as a substitute for the known asylum procedures. Resettlement alone will surely not be the solution to the worldwide refugee situation, but it is the rescue for many people. Long, dangerous and costly means of fleeing can thus be avoided. Nonetheless, refugees must still have the right to seek protection and asylum at European borders. However, resettlement sets a clear signal against exclusion, discrimination and isolation of refugees.