Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN, United States

€2.5 million to solve long-term refugee situations

The UN refugee organisation UNHCR is to receive Dutch support in its search for solutions to the problem of large numbers of refugees living for years in refugee camps, as is the case now in the east of Sudan.

The government has earmarked €2.5 million for this purpose. Development Minister Lilianne Ploumen announced this on Tuesday after talking to the High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres.

‘These people have been in a hopeless situation for years. Children are growing up without prospects. There are too many of these refugees for them to be taken in by Western countries. With our support, UNHCR is looking for sustainable solutions in the region’, the Minister said.

Earlier today, Mr Guterres spoke to foreign minister Frans Timmermans about the situation in countries like Syria, Somalia and Mali. ‘The crisis in the north of Mali shows how vulnerable the Sahel region is. This calls for a coordinated response from the international community. The European Union, in close coordination with the United Nations, has an important role to play in this process, in both political and humanitarian terms’, Mr Timmermans said.

In her talk with Mr Guterres, Ms Ploumen also discussed the fact that some Syrian refugees are failing to register with the authorities because they fear reprisals by the Assad regime against loved ones left behind. International agreements dictate that only registered refugees enjoy protection under the Refugee Convention. UNHCR treats the personal particulars of those who seek asylum as confidential, and is calling on refugees who haven’t yet done so to register.