To mark the opening of this year’s Refugee Week, IOM is partnering with the Refugee Council and Sarah Teather MP to host a Parliamentary reception in the Palace of Westminster today. The reception provides an important opportunity to bring together young refugees, parliamentarians and those working with refugees.
Refugee Week will see a UK-wide programme of arts, cultural and educational events and activities that promote a better understanding of why people seek protection abroad. This year, particular focus will be placed on the contributions of young refugees to the UK.
Since 2004, IOM has played a vital role in the resettlement of refugees to the UK via the Gateway Protection Programme in collaboration with the UNHCR, Refugee Council and other refugee support agencies. To date, IOM has supported over 5,700 refugees – many of them children and young people – with activities such as pre-departure health assessments, documentation and facilitating travel to the UK. “IOM ensures the refugee groups are medically fit to travel, that they have adequate documents and receive some cultural orientation. IOM staff accompany the refugees during their travel to the UK, ensuring their comfort and security”, comments Brian Quaife, Resettlement Project Coordinator at IOM UK.
IOM is also supporting with the resettlement of other vulnerable groups, such as via the Direct Entry programme for Iraqi nationals. Under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation (VPR) scheme, IOM will provide health assessments and travel assistance for those identified for UK resettlement. A total of 33 particularly vulnerable Syrian refugees have so far arrived safely in the UK. IOM also works closely with the British Red Cross on family reunion cases by providing travel assistance to family members of eligible refugees who have been separated around the world. In 2013 over 500 individuals were assisted under this programme.
“The IOM office in the UK is very pleased to partner with Sarah Teather MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees, and the Refugee Council to host this reception and celebrate what promises to be a great Refugee Week for 2014” notes Clarissa Azkoul, the IOM UK Chief of Mission.
For more information, please contact Brian Quaife, firstname.lastname@example.org +44 207 811 6008