There are more than 65 million people forcibly displaced in the world as a result of violent conflict and persecution. More than 21 million of these are refugees in need of protection. With limited opportunities for voluntary repatriation and local integration, other solutions for refugees in the form of safe and legal pathways of admission to third countries represent both a vital protection tool for those who need it most and a tangible way to show solidarity and share responsibility with countries hosting large numbers of refugees.

Establishing safe and legal pathways of admission to complement resettlement programmes is therefore an essential step towards securing a meaningful response to the current unprecedented global displacement situation. Countries, including the Member States of the European Union, expressed their intention to “expand the number and range of legal pathways available for refugees to be admitted to or resettled in third countries.” A number of forms of admission can make this goal a reality, including community-based private sponsorship programmes, scholarships and visas for students, and the expansion of humanitarian admission programmes. Partnerships between governments, international organisations and civil society are indispensable to expand and develop such pathways, and several important initiatives are currently underway.

Recently, a new research paper was published jointly by the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC), the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The report takes a closer look at the Canadian private sponsorship programmes and the humanitarian corridors which have been established in Italy and France and in which the French and Italian Eurodiaconia members, Federation de l’Entraide Protestante (FEP) and Diaconia Valdese, are closely involved.

To learn more about community-based private sponsorship you can read ICMC’s paper on “Private Sponsorship in Europe.”