Community Development

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Building a Resettlement Network of European Cities and Regions- Experiences of the SHARE Network 2012-2015

“Either we enable migrants to become part of the community, or we will witness tensions and a further growth of xenophobic movements. SHARE brought together cities, towns, communities, churches and migrant associations to promote and coordinate a real response to the needs of integration.  I am proud of it.”

Peter Sutherland, UN Special Representative for Migration and President of the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC)

ICMC published its report “Building a Resettlement Network of European Cities and Regions- Experiences of the SHARE Network 2012-2015”, being the culmination of 4 years of the SHARE Network learning.

Since 2012, the SHARE project has built a European resettlement network of regions, cities and their civil society partners with the objectives of 1) promoting refugee protection and resettlement and a culture of welcome and 2) improving planning and coordination for refugee reception and integration in Europe.

SHARE has expanded the EU Resettlement Network (ERN), engaging over 1,200 regional and local contacts already active in resettlement, contemplating resettlement projects or planning advocacy for resettlement in their respective countries. The project spanned Europe, engaging stakeholders in Austria, Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Luxembourg, Latvia, The Netherlands, Norway, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Romania and the United Kingdom. SHARE has sought to develop a network of actors to share best practices in resettlement between experienced actors and actors in emerging resettlement countries or countries considering resettlement, facilitate refugee integration locally, exchange information and learning in a formalized fashion, advocate for resettlement and share creative and contextualized local resettlement solutions.

With continued loss of life in attempts to cross the Mediterranean, developing adequate channels for the orderly admission of refugees to Europe must be at the core of strategies to address asylum and migration challenges in the European Union. Resettlement is a significant tool in this respect and the SHARE project sought to promote resettlement and improve resettlement outcomes.

Resettlement allows for ahead planning and coordination leading to better reception and integration of refugees. SHARE learning suggests that all countries can develop successful resettlement programmes when properly planned and coordinated among stakeholders and that a European-wide response, involving all countries and regions and municipalities (from large cities to small villages), is essential. 

The SHARE  network position is that the same kind of planning and integration services as are applied in resettlement should be applied in cases of  relocation or any other mechanism to distribute refugees across countries or territories.

A number of key policy recommendations emerged from the SHARE project that have the potential to improve and strengthen resettlement, relocation and refugee reception and integration in Europe which include 1) Non-discrimination among refugees of the same country in granting of status and service provision; 2)  Recognizing the need to strengthen reception and integration services in those regions and municipalities receiving larger number or specific (vulnerable) profiles of refugee; 3) The need for increased attention to refugee placement decisions in a manner sensitive to refugees’ special needs and potential, particularly with respect to integration into the labor market; 4) Strengthening multi-stakeholder cooperation between regions, municipalities and civil society in providing reception, welcome and integration services; 5) Including regional and local actors in financial decision-making (AMIF) and programming; 6) Promoting grassroots initiatives and volunteerism in providing welcome and integration services; 7) Prioritizing the use of Personalized Integration Programs (PIPs) and including employment as an important benchmark in such integration plans.

We hope that this summary of policy reflections, tools and resources and recommendations produced by the SHARE network will support and offer guidance to regional and local actors implementing reception programmes in Europe and be a useful policy tool for a broad range of actors working in the field of asylum and migration in Europe.

Preparing for Syrian Resettlement webinar

The number of Syrian refugee admissions will be steadily increasing in the coming year. This webinar, lead by Liyam Eloul, will help your agency become better prepared to serve the particular needs of this population. Topics covered include:
- Background and demographics of Syrian refugees;
- Syrian refugee expectations;
- Potential challenges for Syrian resettlement in the U.S.;
- How to prepare your staff and communities for Syrian resettlement; and
- Who might be helpful partners.

Liyam Eloul is a trauma therapist with a specialization in complex emergencies and urban refugees in the MENA region. Liyam received her postgraduate diploma from the American University in Cairo on Psychosocial Interventions for Refugees and Forced Migrants, and her Master's Degree in International Disaster Psychology from the University of Denver. She has worked with refugees both prior to and following resettlement in the United States. Liyam has worked largely internationally with INGOs over the past decade, including in Egypt, Syria, Oman, Ghana, and Jordan, and has published on the impact of culture on the experience of psychosocial distress, as well as program development. In Syria she worked with UNHCR Damascus, piloting a psychosocial program for the organization as the monitoring and evaluation focal point. Liyam is currently a psychotherapist trainer and clinical supervisor with the Center for Victims of Torture in Amman, Jordan.

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Living Spirit: Muslim Women and Human Rights Forum: the right to participate in social change - Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission

Over 140 women and girls from a variety of different cultural backgrounds attended this one-day interactive forum52, aiming to:

  • Promote harmony and understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims;
  • Develop strategies to combat religious and racial discrimination and vilification against women;
  • Provide an effective way of making Muslim women’s voices heard and for them to express their concerns, needs and aspirations;
  • Increase understanding of legal protections against discrimination and vilification in Australia.

SPIRIT – Finnish Red Cross

The Spirit project, led by the Finnish Red Cross, encourages municipalities to be more open to receiving refugees by confronting negative attitudes towards foreigners and raising community awareness about refugees. To do this the project has developed civic participation through volunteering activities related to refugee reception and integration; promoted cooperation between local NGOs and authorities and clarified stakeholders’ mandates and responsibilities.

Pre-Arrival Community Preparedness, Operation Swaagatem-Bhutanese Case Study-Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia (ISS of BC)

In 2008, Canada agreed to resettle 5000 Bhutanese refugees over a four-year- period from camps in Nepal, for the first time. The NGO, Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia (ISS of BC), decided to organise a pre-arrival community planning forum. The aim of the planning forum was to inform the community and mainstream services about the arrival of the Bhutanese refugees, to involve them in the process and coordinate a welcome for the newly arriving refugees. In preparation, forum organisers consulted the local Nepalese community

Resettlement at Risk: Meeting Emerging Challenges to Refugee Resettlement in Local Communities

This paper will provide an overview of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program and some of the new ways refugee resettlement has affected communities. It will also explore the recent rise in anti-refugee sentiment and
activity in three states. The paper includes recommendations for mitigating antirefugee sentiment, fighting anti-resettlement efforts when they emerge, and strengthening the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. The goal of these recommendations is to ensure that the U.S. continues to lead the world in providing a safe haven to refugees, to integrate newcomers successfully, and to create and maintain thriving, diverse communities that are a model for the rest of the world.

Welcome to Europe! A comprehensive guide to resettlement

 

This publication is an outcome of the joint IOM, UNHCR and ICMC project ‘Linking In EU resettlement – Linking the resettlement phases and connecting (local) resettlement practitioners’, co-funded by the European Commission via the European Refugee Fund.

This new edition of Welcome to Europe covers all aspects of global resettlement needs, processes, policy and partnerships, focusing on the ongoing growth and development of resettlement in Europe, as follows:

Chapter 1 – Resettlement and international protection

Chapter 2 – Global resettlement

Chapter 3 – Refugee situations in focus

Chapter 4 – The resettlement process: from identification to departure

Chapter 5 – Resettlement in Europe – rising slowly but surely

Chapter 7 – European resettlement programmes

Chapter 8 – Building a new life in the community: approaches to reception and integration in Europe

‘Welcome to Europe!’ underscores the life-saving role of resettlement, and contributes to the promotion of resettlement in Europe as one component of a comprehensive and durable approach to protecting refugees. To submit your contributions and reflections on the publication, please contact Sophie Ngo-Diep at communications.europe@icmc.net or start a discussion in the Community of Practice.