UNHCR affirms resettlement never been an all-encompassing solution

UNHCR affirms resettlement never been an all-encompassing solution

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesman Thomas Vargas addressed the Indonesian journalists at a doorstop interview in Jakarta on Monday (Aug 27, 2019). (ANTARA/Azizah Fitriyanti)

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesperson reiterated, Monday, that resettlement is not a solution for refugees globally and that his party will respect national policies on accepting asylum-seekers from countries ratifying the Refugee Convention 1951.

"We have to respect the policies that other countries have. Resettlement has never been a catch-all solution," UNHCR Indonesia Director Thomas Vargas stated at his office in Jakarta on Monday.

Vargas made the statement in response to an ANTARA question on the uncertain future of foreign refugees sheltered at the Kalideres camp in West Jakarta after the Jakarta government closes it down on Aug 31.

Related news: Cannot have more refugee camps like Kalideres: UNHCR

“In the best of times, under one percent of the global refugee population has been resettled to third countries,” he added.

In the meantime, the UNHCR has prioritized cooperation with receiving countries and to this end, it has been continuously working with the governments that offer resettlement opportunities, Vargas explained.

"The UNHCR views it as a very important protection tool to be able to provide to refugees," he affirmed.

"However, every country has its policy," Vargas noted.  

"We recognized that, and we always strive to identify new countries that may be willing to offer resettlement places, but it just depends on the national policy of every country," he stated.

Some 14 thousand foreign refugees are presently stranded in Indonesia, most of them pinning high hopes on being resettled in neighboring Australia, the country that has been tightening its national policy on accepting asylum-seekers in the past few years.

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