SOME 220 REFUGEES, many of them Syrian, will resettle in Ireland in 2015 and 2016.
The announcement was made at the High Level Meeting on resettlement for Syrian refugees in Geneva today.
The UN’s Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has welcomed the decision.
Sophie Magennis of the organisation’s Irish branch said that it is “further proof of the Irish government’s commitment to finding solutions for refugees around the world”.
“At a time when global forced displacement exceeds 50 million, resettlement is increasingly the only durable solution for many people forced to flee because of war and conflict. This is especially the case in Syria, the greatest humanitarian tragedy of our time,” Magennis said.
In 2013, 31 refugees from Syria were resettled in Ireland. A further 90 people are expected to arrive later this year.
Ireland has committed over €28 million to the Syrian crisis to date, while our Syrian Humanitarian Admission Programme has received over 300 applications.
“We hope that with a flexible approach and supports to families, more Syrians may be given the opportunity to join family members in Ireland,” Magennis said.
“We are appealing to the international community to continue providing long-term solutions for Syrian refugees who are most urgently in need.
“UNHCR continues to urge all states to offer resettlement and other forms of admission for refugees from Syria towards the multiannual goal of 130,000 places by the end of 2016.”
Some 2.8 million people have fled Syria since the conflict began in 2011. Based on current estimates, that figure will rise to 4.1 million by the end of 2014.
Another 6.5 million Syrians are internally displaced, meaning that half of Syria’s population has now been forced out of their homes.
As a result, UNHCR anticipates that there will be increasing numbers of vulnerable Syrian refugees in need of resettlement, relocation, or other forms of humanitarian help in the coming years.
At the end of 2013, 51.2 million people were forcibly displaced from their homes, 6 million more than in 2012. Of these, 16.7 people were refugees.
Read: For the first time since WWII, more than 50 million people have been forced to leave their homes