Minister of the Interior Krista Mikkonen to attend European Commission’s refugee forum – resettlement must continue even in times of crisis
On Tuesday 29 November, the European Commission will hold via video conference a High-Level Forum on legal pathways to protection. The Forum will discuss the resettlement of refugees, ways to promote admittance, and work-based complementary pathways to protection for refugees. Minister of the Interior Krista Mikkonen will represent Finland at the meeting.
The Commission has emphasised the importance of resettlement, i.e. admitting refugees from a third country to a Member State within quota limits, especially in response to the situation in Syria, the central Mediterranean and Afghanistan.
“The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan is dire. While we are delivering humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan and its neighbouring countries, we must continue to provide international protection for Afghan refugees. Under this year’s resettlement quota, Finland will receive 600 Afghan refugees from Iran,” says Minister Mikkonen.
Millions of Ukrainians have applied for protection from EU countries
Since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, millions of Ukrainians have sought protection from EU countries. The number of asylum seekers has also increased in the EU. The UN Refugee Agency UNHCR has been concerned that the situation in Ukraine will draw attention away from other refugee crises in the world. Despite the challenging situation, it is justified to continue implementing a balanced resettlement policy, providing refugees with safe legal pathways to protection.
Finland has been admitting refugees for resettlement since the 1970s, and managed to do so even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The past years have shown that resettlement programmes must be resilient to crises. It is important that even in challenging circumstances we can continue to provide legal and safe pathways to people in need of help. For example, during the pandemic Finland was able to admit refugees for resettlement by interviewing them remotely,” Minister Mikkonen says.
“In accordance with the Government Programme, Finland has increased its refugee quota. The resettlement quota system plays an important role in Finland’s efforts to help the most vulnerable people in the world,” she continues.
The participants of the High-Level Forum will include European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. The majority of the EU Member States will be represented at the event.
Mirka Eirola, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 295 488 383, [email protected]
Tiina Kivinen, Special Adviser, tel. +358 50 566 19 22, [email protected] (requests for interviews with Minister Mikkonen)