The International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) is supporting the Croatian government as the latter works to resettle 100 refugees currently in Turkey.
Early in January 2019, the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Croatia and ICMC signed an agreement by which ICMC will contribute its expertise and services for the resettlement in Croatia of refugees currently living in Turkey. The agreement spans over 12 months. Croatia plans to resettle 100 refugees, with a possibility to expand that number.
“We greatly welcome the decision of the Croatian government at a time when the need for resettlement opportunities is higher than ever,” said ICMC Secretary General Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo.
There are over 25 million refugees worldwide. Among them, some 1.2 million need to be resettled to a third country. However, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), only 55,692 refugees were resettled in 2018.
“As a durable solution, resettlement to a third country is a life-saving measure for refugees who cannot return safely to their home countries or integrate into the countries where they first sought protection,” Msgr. Vitillo added. “We thus encourage States to offer more resettlement opportunities, by expanding their current programs or creating new ones.”
“The Republic of Croatia encourages and promotes the strengthening of legal pathways for people in need of international protection, and in that regard we carry out a resettlement program for Syrian refugees from Turkey,” stated Mr. Davor Božinović, Minister of Interior of Croatia. In this way, the country “shows solidarity and humanity towards the most vulnerable refugees,” he added.
ICMC staff who specializes in providing cultural orientation to refugees before they depart Turkey is working with Croatian government officials on a new interactive program to facilitate the successful integration of resettled refugees. The cultural orientation activity is being implemented in cooperation with the Jesuit Refugee Service of Croatia and introduces refugees to Croatian culture, while imparting realistic expectations about services, opportunities, and responsibilities.
Moreover, ICMC staff assists Croatian government officials when they interview resettlement candidates in Istanbul, offering interpretation services and coordinating medical screenings. ICMC also coordinates travel to and accommodation in Istanbul, as refugees are spread across the country and need to travel to that city for interviews, medical screenings and cultural orientation.
The first selection mission carried out by the Croatian government has already taken place. “The Croatian delegation is extremely satisfied with ICMC’s professionalism,” Minister Božinović said.
ICMC resettlement services in Turkey draw on the experience accumulated by the organization in over 50 years assisting governments to resettle refugees. ICMC offers a complete set of services, which can be customized upon request.
ICMC staff has received extensive training in all aspects of the resettlement process, including interview techniques, monitoring, documentation, protection and anti-fraud measures, and safety and security. They pay particular attention to vulnerable refugees like children, especially unaccompanied minors, and can conduct interviews and offer counseling and orientation in more than a dozen languages spoken by the refugees.
ICMC is one of the leading service providers for the resettlement of refugees to the United States. It also works with other governments interested in stepping up or starting refugee resettlement programs.