MIL-OSI Translation: Guterres meets refugees in New York, urges developed countries to provide more resettlement opportunities


MIL OSI Translation. Region: France and French Territories –

Source: United Nations – in French 2

Headline: Guterres meets refugees in New York, urges developed countries to provide more resettlement opportunities

“Like millions of refugees around the world, they are helping to bring new life, prosperity and rich diversity to their host communities. We must continue to support them,” the UN chief said on Twitter after the visit.

Mr. Guterres, who served as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from 2005 to 2015, underlined the vital role of developed countries in welcoming refugees and providing them with opportunities, whoever they are and wherever they come from.

“I’m not going to die tomorrow”

Mr. Guterres first traveled to Brooklyn, where he visited Suzan Al Shammari, an Iraqi refugee who fled Baghdad in 2010 with her family for Cairo, Egypt. They were registered with the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, and were able to resettle in California. From there, they were able to travel to New York.

Ms. Al Shammari told the Secretary-General that because she grew up during the war, she wants to be able to help other refugees. With this in mind, she is currently working as a social worker with a non-governmental organization (NGO) having recently obtained a Masters degree from a university in the UK.

“Every day you think will be the last. When I went to Egypt with my family, it was also difficult to be there as refugees. So when I moved to the United States, although it was a great chance, it took me a few years to adjust to the fact that I will not die tomorrow,” Ms Al Shammari said.

She added that resettlement offers a “second chance” opportunity for those forced to flee their country. “Bringing in refugees saves lives and it is something that every leader, every country should contribute to,” said Ms. Al Shammari.

Ms Al Shammari said she was “one of those lucky people” because she was given the opportunity to find a safe new home, but also had an education and was fluent in her country’s language. ‘welcome.

“I can say from my personal experience with my parents that it’s not easy to come to a country you don’t know, a language you don’t speak. Both my parents were engineers in Iraq and they can’t work with their diplomas […] I sincerely believe that if companies take more initiative, hire refugees and create more opportunities for immigrants, it would help. […] you see, some will hear their accent, hear that they don’t speak English well and say, ‘I don’t think that’s going to work’”.

According to the latest United Nations data, there are currently nearly 1.2 million internally displaced people in Iraq among the more than six million initially displaced by Daesh-related violence from 2014 to 2017.

At the same time, Iraq has hosted more than 290,000 refugees from Syria and other countries for many years, mainly in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. By the end of 2021, the majority of IDP camps in the central and southern governorates of Iraq were closed. There are now 26 camps out of 44 camps at the start of 2020, including 25 in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

The UN Secretary General (right) meets with refugees in New York.

Happy to be resettled but worried about their family

After meeting Ms. Al Shammari, Mr. Guterres traveled to Queens to visit an Afghan couple, Shafi Alif and Rohina Sofizada. In their apartment, the UN chief was greeted with spiced green tea and traditional Afghan sweets.

As they chatted over their cups, Mr Alif revealed that his family fled Afghanistan to Pakistan when he was five months old in 1992. The family marched for 40 days to seek asylum in the Pakistan, where they stayed for more than 10 years. They were also registered with the UNHCR.

With the help of UNHCR, Mr. Alif and his family voluntarily returned to Afghanistan in 2002. He received financial support upon their return to Kabul, including transportation and a cash allowance.

The couple agreed they had ‘peaceful years’ in the country until 2018 when Ms Sofizada, who worked with the US Embassy in Kabul, received a special visa to resettle in the US. United. A little later, Mr. Alif joined her on a special immigrant visa, while working with the Polish army in the capital of Afghanistan.

Today, they are happy that they were able to travel to the United States, but they are still concerned that their family members, who are now in Pakistan, left Kabul after the Taliban took over. in 2021.

“My family was rejected at the border twice, even with all the visas and documents. They had to walk to Pakistan, because they won’t receive many Afghans. We are relieved to be here, but we still worry about our loved ones,” Ms Sofizada said.

Like Ms. Al Shammari, Mr. Shafi also works to help newcomers. He is a social worker for an NGO that helps Afghans. He says no refugee is “happy to leave their country,” but because they may face violence or persecution, they leave because they have no other choice.

“We need more resettlement places, we need more help of different kinds, like basic needs, housing, whatever is necessary for a refugee. It can be helpful to the community they live in,” he explained.

According to the UNHCR, Afghans constitute one of the largest refugee populations in the world. There are 2.6 million registered Afghan refugees worldwide, including 2.2 million in Iran and Pakistan alone. Another 3.5 million people are internally displaced. More than half of the Afghan population, or 24 million people, face acute food insecurity and an estimated 97% of the Afghan population lives well below the poverty line.

Developed countries must do more

After hearing these testimonies, Mr. Guterres called on developed countries to do more and reminded them of their fundamental role in welcoming refugees and giving them the chance to start over in a safe and secure environment, away from the difficult situations that they face. they can find in camps.

The UN Secretary-General said that during his time as head of the UN refugee agency, there were twice as many resettlement opportunities available for those coming from refugee camps and other difficult situations in the world.

As such, he urged more states to open their borders to asylum seekers and help them find better living conditions.

Of all resettlement cases submitted by UNHCR to States in 2021, 86% involved survivors of torture or violence, people in need of legal and physical protection, and vulnerable women and girls. Slightly more than half of all files submitted concerned children.

According to the UN, the world reached the dramatic milestone of 100 million refugees in May, 10 weeks after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which not only displaced people fleeing war, but also triggered food insecurity world, as well as grain and fertilizer shortages.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and/or sentence structure not be perfect.

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