Government agrees to resettle 220 refugees

Many of those to be admitted will come from war-torn Syria

UNHCR Ireland head of office Sophie Magennis: “This is further proof of the Irish Government’s commitment to finding solutions for refugees around the world.”  Photograph: Eric Luke

UNHCR Ireland head of office Sophie Magennis: “This is further proof of the Irish Government’s commitment to finding solutions for refugees around the world.” Photograph: Eric Luke

Sat, Jun 28, 2014, 01:00

The UN’s refugee agency last night welcomed the State’s decision to resettle 220 refugees in 2015 and 2016, including many from war-torn Syria.

The announcement, made in Geneva yesterday at a high-level UN meeting on resettlement of Syrian refugees, came as states began offering additional places over the next two years for those displaced by the crisis in Syria.

“This is further proof of the Irish Government’s commitment to finding solutions for refugees around the world,” said UNHCR Ireland head of office Sophie Magennis.

“At a time when global forced displacement exceeds 50 million, resettlement is increasingly the only durable solution for many people forced to flee because of war and conflict.”

Ms Magennis said this was especially the case in Syria, which she described as “the greatest humanitarian tragedy of our time”.

Forced out of homes

“Some 2.8 million people have fled Syria since the conflict began in 2011,” she said.

“On current estimates, that figure will rise to 4.1 million by the end of 2014. Another 6.5 million Syrians are internally displaced, meaning that half of Syria’s population has now been forced out of their homes.”

Ms Magennis added that, as a result of this, the UNHCR anticipated that in the coming years there would be increasing numbers of vulnerable Syrian refugees in need of resettlement, relocation or other forms of humanitarian admission.