Resettlement of refugees from Iraq
CGRS and Fedasil set up joint selection mission to Syria and Jordan for the resettlement of 50 refugees from Iraq
In February 2009 the Government decided to start with the resettlement of 50 refugees fromIraq. On 2 May a delegation of the Office of the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons (CGRS), together with people from Fedasil (Federal agency for the reception of refugees) left forSyriaandJordanin order to personally interview these refugees.
This project offered the opportunity to provide protection to particularly vulnerable people who have fled the continued violence in Iraq, but who couldn’t count on the necessary protection in Syria or Jordan either. This was the first time in the history of Belgium that experts travelled to interview refugees in their place of residence with a view to their resettlement from another country.
For this pilot project the CGRS and Fedasil cooperated closely, as it was important to carefully select the refugees that qualify for resettlement in function of their future reception and integration in Belgium. The selection mission, in which 3 CGRS and 2 Fedasil workers participated, allowed them to interview refugees in their place of residence and this way got a clearer picture of their need for protection and of their social and cultural background.
In order to improve practical cooperation in asylum matters, this selection mission was embedded in a broader European project for a joint approach of the refugee situation in Iraq. This mission was organised in collaboration with the Netherlands, and a Dutch doctor was responsible for the medical examinations of the refugees who were resettled in Belgium. During the mission, a visit was paid also to the German and Swedish resettlement operations that were taking place in the region.
In the framework of practical cooperation between EU member states, CGRS and Fedasil workers had already participated in a number of resettlement missions in Thailand (with the Netherlands) and Tanzania (with the United Kingdom and Ireland) between 2007 and 2009. The expertise gained there was very valuable.