How to resettle refugees? The current state, challenges and future directions

Joint seminar organised by the European Migration Network (EMN) Estonian Contact Point, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Regional Representation for Northern Europe and International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Office in Estonia
Thursday 9th March 2017 in room M-218, Tallinn University (2nd floor, Uus-Sadama 5, Tallinn, Estonia)

Many Western democracies have a long history of participating in refugee resettlement programmes and collaborating with the UNHCR. Estonia, however, is still relatively new to this and hence has a lot to learn from other countries. Estonia started participating in resettlement programmes in 2015, when in the framework of European Scheme for Relocation and Resettlement Estonia agreed to provide protection to twenty people. In 2016 Estonia committed to receiving 166 refugees in the context of the EU-Turkey Statement. The aim of the latter was to put an end to migrant smugglers’ business, and irregular migration flows from Turkey to the EU. It was stated that all irregular migrants crossing from Turkey to the Greek islands as of 20 March 2016 will be returned to Turkey, but for every Syrian being returned to Turkey from the Greek islands, another Syrian will be resettled to the EU from Turkey directly.

Altogether, the Republic of Estonia is committed to resettling 188 refugees. As of the end of 2016, eleven persons were resettled to Estonia and the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board was looking through 63 more applications.

Given the continuing war in Syria there is a pressure on Estonia to continue resettling refugees in the years to come, showing solidarity with neighbouring countries such as Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon and other Western Democracies that have taken on much of the burden of this humanitarian crisis.

Estonia needs to learn quickly how to resettle refugees in a way that is beneficial both to Estonia and to the beneficiaries of international protection. This joint seminar of EMN, UNHCR and IOM tackles the key challenges and solutions as well as future perspectives of refugee resettlement in Estonia by exploring the experiences of other countries and international organisations.

This seminar is intended for policy-makers, experts and practitioners from the public sector, NGOs and research institutes. Simultaneous interpretation is provided.

Content issues: Marion.Pajumets (a), Ph. +372 640 9464
Technical issues: Aivar.Joorik (a), Ph. +372 619 9587

See you soon!