They include Liberian, Congolese and Iraqi refugees
13th August 2010: The UK has resettled 2,690 refugees since Gateway Protection Programme began in 2004.
They include Liberian refugees from Sierra Leone, Congolese refugees from Tanzania, Zambia and Uganda, and Iraqi refugees from Jordan.
The protection programme is operated by the UK Border Agency in partnership with UNHCR. The programme is a legal route for particularly vulnerable refugees to reach safety without being driven into the hands of people traffickers.
The UK Border Agency says it shows the UK’s commitment to providing a safe haven for people escaping torture or death.
The assertion comes at a time when the UK Border Agency is welcoming 37 Bhutanese refugees into the UK.
The move follows the agreement under the protection programme for the UK to take 750 refugees from a number of different locations in 2010-11. This includes an eventual total of 100 Bhutanese refugees who have been living in Nepalese refugee camps since 1992 or 1993, with no prospect of local integration in Nepal or repatriation to Bhutan. It is the first time that the UK has resettled Bhutanese refugees.
The UK Border Agency sent a resettlement mission team to Nepal in May to interview refugees. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has also assessed the refugees’ needs and the most appropriate country for their resettlement. So far, 32,000 Bhutanese refugees have left the camps for eight Western countries, with most going to the USA.
The British charge d’affaires, Sophia Willitts-King, says it’s heartening to meet the refugees about to leave for the UK to start new lives after so many years of uncertainty.
Willitts-King also expresses confidence that they will integrate well into their new host community and wished them every success in the UK.
Britain is one of the eight countries that offered resettlement to the refugees. The other countries are the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands.
UNHCR representative in Nepal Stephane Jaquemet says they are hopeful that other countries will also consider resettling refugees from Bhutan.
Ever since the programme began in 2007, more than 34,500 refugees from Bhutan have departed to the eight resettlement countries.
Over 77,000 refugees have been living for almost two decades in seven refugee camps in eastern Nepal. They arrived in Nepal after ethnic violence began in Bhutan in the early 1990s.