Presentation on theme: "1 Local Integration of Refugees in Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine Strategy for Action Gaspar Bergman Head of Secretariat, Söderköping Process* *The Cross-Border."— Presentation transcript:
1 Local Integration of Refugees in Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine Strategy for Action Gaspar Bergman Head of Secretariat, Söderköping Process* *The Cross-Border Co-operation/Söderköping Process is a project funded by the European Union. The views expressed in this presentation do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Commission.
2 Objectives / Why this analysis? Government request Integration is key & foreseen by Art. 34 of 51 Convention Need to review achievements Integration complex/no single recipe Signals indicative of problems Many partial initiatives - never holistic effort to assess all aspects Identify gaps / good practices / analyze options Think in terms of sub-region Formulate recommendations to Gvts and relevant actors
3 Methodology Independence & candid observations Based on empirical findings – triangulation Parallel work in 3 countries/levels Close coordination with relevant centr.authority Actively seek-out issues/stakeholders Corroborate/cross reference Voluntary & confidential interviews
Final results 3 countries /number of localities capitals & Gomel, Svetlogorsk, Vitebsk, Odessa, Vinitsa, central and local authorities Over 130 interviews with Gvt, NGOs, RCOs, Ios 210 interviews with refugees, hum. status, naturalized & stateless > standard questionnaire Review of basic documentation/legislation Final report consisting over 200 recommendations 26 recommendations generic and applicable to all App. 60 country-specific recommendations each
5 Final report/ headings Institution-building, national integration policy International cooperation & resettlement needs Respect of refugee rights & access to information Documents and translation of documents Language skills, education, employment Housing, social and health issues Legal counseling and capacity of NGOs Naturalization procedures/citizenship Local community relations
6 Final report / Annexes Consists analysis of questionnaires per country presenting series charts, which illustrate the socio-economic and legal situation of refugees Respondents’ evaluation of quality of assistance provided by the local authorities, UNHCR and its’ implementation partners (NGOs) Comparative Statistical Analysis of 3 countries Selected quotations from individual interviews Final report in English and in Russian available: www.soderkoping.org.uawww.soderkoping.org.ua & www.refworld.orgwww.refworld.org
7 Generic common findings Integration - no concept/plan, no dedicated staff, no budgets Many macro economic factors of influence Asylum systems developed partially (legal area/structures) Legislation /by-laws not harmonized Except primary responsible Gvt officials most unaware Absence of Gvt responsibility/authority – NGOs plugging holes Structures in-transparent do not engender trust UNHCR keeps subsidizing ad hoc most urgent Commitment - nominal – no evidence of action except local Gvts keep/reduce expenditures below thresholds / re-organize Expectation that any expenditures should be externally funded UNHCR attention/resources minimal & pulling out No other international agency engaged Refugee communities weak / not sufficiently anchored
8 GENERIC / COMMON FINDINGS 1 Main issues: Housing / income / documentation Housing very poor; still it absorbs most of income Status in labor market is weak Most employed work at markets, legally or illegally Women isolated, the young without perspectives Poverty affects not only individuals, families but sometimes also entire ethnic communities (Africans) Relations with locals (levels of tolerance, racism) range considerably from country to country Many refugees exhausted => dependency syndrome Many wish to leave – legally, illegally, volrep
9 GENERIC / COMMON FINDINGS 2 Vulnerable would not survive very well without UNHCR No equal access to many foreseen rights Trying to navigate confusing/contradictory/corrupt systems Remain more vulnerable than locals Little attention to past trauma / cultural differences Overtly complex registration / documentation procedures (many rights connected to “propiska” mentality) Integration crucial – but stagnating / reverses Refugees have little assistance to exercise their rights Rights violated / problem compounded Spontaneous departures / lower numbers applying
10 GENERIC / COMMON FINDINGS 3 Consensus that measures necessary BUT except education little done in housing, medical, guidance, language training, job assistance etc. Presumption that refugees already equal (legally) Social systems for citizens weak / exclude refugees Either by ignorance or rule Current efforts do not empower but keep most dependent Perception of reality differs in eyes of Gvt & refugee Officials skeptical / do not know / have no funds / lack the authority/skills to promote change
11 JOINT RECOMMENDATIONS 1 Develop a comprehensive national integration policy Identify a central specialized unit Entrust it with primary responsibility for all matters pertaining to integration: To manage and define the implementation of a strategy To draw up budgets and to coordinate responses at central and local levels Establish an integration specific budgetary line Undertake an inventory of existing relevant legislation, identify legal/procedural gaps/deficiencies and take corrective measures
12 JOINT RECOMMENDATIONS 2 Seek co-financing from international sources for major projects (housing, employment, education and re-qualification programmes for refugees) Secure the necessary trainings/study trips to examine best practices from integration policies adopted elsewhere Establish cross-regional partnerships with similar agencies that have developed refugee integration programmes in comparable circumstances Int. org. should provide assistance to Gvts to enhance their capacity to define and implement relevant integration projects
13 JOINT RECOMMENDATIONS 3 Establish a budget for interpretation and written translations required for official purposes Train interpreters Provide refugees with relevant guidance in the form of brochures in appropriate languages Train authorities to recognize refugee documents and the rights they are entitled to Increase authorities’ awareness of their obligation to provide administrative assistance to refugees Budget funds to implement language 1 - 3 courses per person
14 JOINT RECOMMENDATIONS 4 RAISE AWARENESS: Inform employers that recognized refugees have equal rights to work PROVIDE TRAINING: Ensure that e.g. employment offices fulfill their duties to assist refugees. AMEND PRACTICES: Eliminate dispensable administrative requirements which hinder refugees’ access to employment, housing, training, education, credits, pensions… SEARCH EXPERTISE: Look for international assistance how to design new affordable social housing programmes and to attract appropriate bi- and multilateral donor funding
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