On World Refugee Day, marked globally on 20 June, the European Union reaffirmed its long-standing commitment to help those who have been forced to flee their homes and had to leave everything behind. EU support was often key for many whose dreams and hopes were taken away.
Dreams and hopes do not know borders. Nor does the EU's support for the most vulnerable ones. "From Syria to South Sudan, from Myanmar to Venezuela we work towards durable sustainable solutions towards achieving peace and stability", EU High Representative Federica Mogherini emphasised in the EU's Joint Statement.
Supporting Syrian refugees and host communities
Together with our Member States we have provided almost EUR 17 billion for Syrians displaced inside Syria but above all to Syrian refugees and their host communities in the region, in particular in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.
With our partners we assisted 7 million Syrians with health care support and 5 million Syrians with food inside Syria.
The EU continues to support Turkey which hosts for the fifth consecutive year the largest number of refugees worldwide. Through the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey we have allocated EUR 6 billion in support of refugees and host communities.
Cooperation that delivers real change
The European Union's and Member States' support of approximately EUR 1 billion (2017,2018) to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has a crucial impact on the people: it contributes to the provision of essential services like primary health care and education as well as allowing over half a million children to go to school.
The story of Heba Al-Saadi, a Palestine refugee student in Lebanon, shows that our action matters. “I am studying nursing at Siblin Training Centre. This will enable me to have the opportunity to heal not only body but also heart and soul of our patients,” she says.
“I am excited and look for the day when I will be working in hospitals and make a difference in someone's life. It's a nice feeling when you look into a patient's eye and see hope and dignity,” Heba is optimistic.
Heba and her peers at the Siblin Training Centre are empowered through their coursework and training to acquire necessary skills in the fields of their interest thanks to the steadfast support of the European Union. As the largest contributor to the UNRWA education programme, the European Union plays a critical role in the Agency’s ability to provide students like Heba with the skills needed to build a brighter future.
Our partnership work in Africa
Our work along the Central Mediterranean route to save and protect lives, fight traffickers and smugglers and to evacuate those in need continues with strong determination.
It is thanks to an unprecedented mechanism of cooperation between the African Union, the European Union and the United Nations that over 3,600 people in need of international protection have been evacuated from Libya through Niger to countries of safety since the end of 2017.
Joint work under the AU-EU-UN Taskforce has further assisted almost 40,500 vulnerable persons to return home safely and to receive reintegration support.
The EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa which was set up after the Valletta Summit in 2015 pays particular attention to supporting refugees, internally displaced persons, returnees and the hosting communities in the Sahel and Lake Chad, the Horn of Africa and North Africa.
With resources currently amounting to approximately EUR 4.5 billion it plays a fundamental role in addressing the root causes of forced displacement as well as fostering stability and contributing to better migration management.
Responding to emerging crises to help the most vulnerable
Helping the Venezuelan people in need is another priority. With an assistance package of over EUR 117.6 million, the EU helps those who lack access to food, medicines and basic services and have been forced to leave their homes, inside the country, as well as host communities in neighbouring countries.
We also provide life-saving support to Rohingya refugees and host communities in Bangladesh and Myanmar's Rakhine State. Hosting more than 900,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh is the biggest refugee camp in the world.
With EU contribution, an agreement implemented by UNHCR in Cox's Bazar addresses the registration and documentation of Rohingya refugees. This action, through the registration of refugees at family level, enabled an immediate and adequate response catering for the needs of the Rohingyas refugees.
As the leading global aid donor, the EU allocates 80% of its humanitarian assistance to the needs of forcibly displaced and their host communities in around 40 countries.
With our partners we want to make sure that extremely vulnerable populations including women, children and people with disabilities are protected and supported during displacement and when returning to their homes.
Addressing forced displacement requires a global, inclusive partnership: solidarity and responsibility are a matter for the entire international community and not only for a few host countries and donors. Last year's historic agreement on the Global Compact on Refugees is a major achievement in that regard.
2018 has shown that partnerships at multilateral, global and regional level have been fundamental in pursuing common objectives and in delivering faster results. The AU-EU-UN Joint Taskforce showed in its early days that together we can save and protect more lives.
"As long as refugees lose their lives trying to reach a safe place, our work must continue”, High Representative Mogherini underlined.
“We will continue protecting the human rights of refugees inside and outside Europe and establish more safe and legal pathways for those in need of protection".