In January 2014, a delegation from the Asylum and Integration Directorate (AID) within the Romanian General Inspectorate for Immigration (GII) conducted a selection mission to Ankara, Turkey for the resettlement of 40 Iraqi refugees.
Romania received the files proposed for resettlement from UNHCR at the end of 2013 and, following a careful analysis of each file, the list of the pre-selected cases was presented by AID during the December meeting of the Resettlement Working Group. This Resettlement Working Group was established on the initiative of the GII and is composed of representatives from all actors involved in the resettlement process, including state authorities, UNHCR, IOM and various NGOs.
The selection team analyzed the files received and conducted a series of interviews with the pre-selected Iraqi refugees from 20-24 January 2014. Once the 40 selected Iraqi refugees re-confirm their intention to be resettled from Turkey to Romania, the Romanian authorities, together with IOM Romania will prepare their transfer. They are expected to arrive in Romania between March and April of this year; however, the exact timing of their arrival is dependent on the finalization of the technical preparations needed.
Twenty Iraqi refugees will travel to Bucharest, with the remaining twenty refugees travelling to Timisoara, a town situated in the west of Romania, and which also hosts an Emergency Transit Centre.
The refugees will benefit from both pre-departure and post-arrival cultural orientation sessions, and will be accommodated in private apartments upon arrival in Romania. They will receive all the benefits and required support (as stipulated in the Law no. 122/2006 on Asylum in Romania), while they will also benefit from complementary social and financial support provided by IOM and its implementing partner, ARCA in the first month following their arrival. JRS Romania and other organizations will provide support to the refugees for the subsequent 12 months period.
All stakeholders are doing their utmost to coordinate their activities in order to ensure the smooth and timely transfer and integration of the resettled Iraqi refugees. In this effort, the aim is to have regular monthly meetings of the Resettlement Working Group, as well as additional activities over the course of the year, such as: awareness-raising activities aimed at local authorities from those areas where the refugees will reside (Bucharest and Timisoara), and outreach to existing Iraqi communities and to employers’ associations, amongst other activities. Through such efforts, Romania seeks to provide the best possible opportunities and conditions so that these new arrivals can integrate and prosper in their new society.
Prepared by Irina Mihalcut, National Network Focal Point for Romania
Photo: The Romanian delegation meets with UNHCR in Ankara © GII