GENEVA / US REFUGEES SETTLEMENT

21-Sep-2021 00:02:43
US President Biden’s proposal to raise the target for refugee resettlement in the United States in the coming fiscal year to 125,000 people has been welcomed by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) on Tuesday. UNTV CH
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STORY: GENEVA / US REFUGEES SETTLEMENT
TRT: 2:43
SOURCE: UNTV CH

RESTRICTIONS: NONE

LANGUAGE: ENGLISH /NATS

DATELINE: 21 Sept 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST

1.Exterior wide shot, United Nations flag flying
2.Med shot, speakers and audience in briefing room
3.SOUNDBITE (English) Shabia Mantoo, spokesperson, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
“UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, welcomes the US President Biden's proposal to raise the target for refugee resettlement in the United States in the coming fiscal year to 125,000 people. This plan reflects the commitment of the US government and the American people to help ensure that the world's most vulnerable refugees have a chance to rebuild their lives in safety.”
4.Med shot, panellists attending briefing
5.SOUNDBITE (English) Marta Hurtado, spokesperson, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
"We are disturbed by the images we've seen and by the fact that we've seen all these migrants and refugees and asylum seekers being transported to Port-au-Prince. We are seriously concerned by the fact that it appears that there had not been any individual assessment on the case and that therefore maybe some of these people have not received that protection that they needed.
6.Close up, panellists taking notes
7.SOUNDBITE (English) Shabia Mantoo, spokesperson, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees:
“We have seen that the complex social, economic, humanitarian and political situation in the country has led to different waves of mixed movements from the country in the past decade. So some of these people in these movements may have well-founded grounds to request international protection and we have been following these movements. And what this does call for is a coordinated regional response to ensure effective and legal state arrangements.”
8.Med shot, panellists taking notes
9.SOUNDBITE (English) Shabia Mantoo, spokesperson, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees:
“We are monitoring the situation, we are advocating, we are observing what's happening, we are calling for this right to be respected for people who may be in need of international protection to access that. It's something we have actually said since the onset of the pandemic. I mean, as early as March last year, we have said and to all states we have said there are ways to manage public health considerations, to manage national security, but to also ensure the right to seek asylum.”
10.Med shot, panellists taking notes
11.SOUNDBITE (English) Shabia Mantoo, spokesperson, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees:
“We predict basically 1.47 million refugees will be in need of resettlement next year, which has sort of been the case out of the global refugee figure. So it’s, I mean, resettlement as a mechanism to ensure protection, it’s available to only a small fraction of the world's refugees. It is dependent on the numbers that the States put forward. We, UNHCR, have an integral role to play in that and we support refugee resettlement.”
12.Med shot, speakers and Press Briefing broadcast on Zoom
13.Close up, hand of one of the panellists
14.Med shot, briefing room

STORYLINE:

US President Biden’s proposal to raise the target for refugee resettlement in the United States in the coming fiscal year to 125,000 people has been welcomed by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) on Tuesday (21 Sep).

“This plan reflects the commitment of the US government and the American people to help ensure that the world’s most vulnerable refugees have a chance to rebuild their lives in safety,” said UNHCR spokesperson Shabia Mantoo.

Monday’s move by the Biden Administration fulfills an earlier pledge to raise a cap that had been cut to 15,000 under his predecessor, Donald Trump; the lowest since the 1980 Refugee Act took effect.

Mantoo said the plan emphasizes “the importance of all countries doing their part” in responding to the needs of refugees.

The announcement comes after US officials said on Monday that more than 6,000 Haitians and other migrants had been removed from an encampment at Del Rio, Texas and immediately expelled to the Caribbean country, which has been rocked by a recent earthquake, flooding and a political crisis caused by the assassination of its premier.

“We are disturbed by the images we've seen and by the fact that we've seen all these migrants and refugees and asylum seekers being transported to Port-au-Prince,” said Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) spokesperson, Marta Hurtado, who raised concerns that some refugees may not have been individually assessed and therefore may not have received that protection that they need.

“No matter who you are, regardless of your migration status, everyone has the same rights and have the right to have the same protection,” Hurtado said.

Reiterating these concerns, Mantoo noted that “the complex social, economic, humanitarian and political situation” in Haiti, “has led to different waves of mixed movements from the country in the past decade”. Some of these people “may have well-founded grounds to request international protection.”

The UNHCR has been “following these movements,” which require “a coordinated regional response to ensure effective and legal stay arrangements, including for those who don’t require international protection.” In terms of the expulsions, she added, the UNHCR “is closely monitoring the issue on both sides of the US / Mexico border.”

“The humanitarian situation remains challenging,” she said, noting that people are being expelled under the title 42 public health-related asylum restrictions. Mantoo stated that “the right to seek asylum is a fundamental human right” and called for this right “to be respected”.

She emphasized that since the onset of the pandemic the UNHCR has told States that “there are ways to manage public health considerations, to manage national security, but to also ensure the right to seek asylum. This is not mutually exclusive. It can be done,” she said.

Commenting on the US move to take in 125,000 refugees and their families next year, Mantoo noted that the past two decades have seen the lowest number of refugees resettlement on record.

With “90 per cent of the world’s refugees hosted in some of the poorest countries in the world, this should be applauded,” she said, adding that a predicted 1.47 million refugees will be in need of resettlement next year.

“Resettlement is a mechanism to ensure protection,” but it is only “available to only a small fraction of the world's refugees. It is dependent on the numbers of the States to put forward,” she said, adding that the UNHCR “looks forward to working with US government counterparts on how this will be rolled out.”
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