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- Category: Resettlement of Refugees
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Humanitarian transfer of refugees is organized based on the trilateral treaty between the Government of the Slovak Republic, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
For this purpose an Emergency Transit Centre (ETC) was opened located in the asylum facility of the Slovak Ministry of Interior in Humenne. ETC serves to provide a temporary shelter to refugees whose situation in a refugee camp where they are staying is no longer sustainable and who have been chosen for resettlement to a third country. The Slovak Republic provides these refugees with a temporary shelter for a period of maximum 6 months. The capacity of ETC is fixed, currently being 250 refugees. The treaty counts with the possibility of supplementing the number of refugees in case of departure of some of them to the country of their resettlement, with the condition that the overall number of accommodated refugees will not exceed the given capacity.
Based on the agreement partners have the following roles within the humanitarian transfer of refugees:
- The Government of the SR is responsible for granting the national visas prior to the entry of refugees to the territory of the Slovak Republic and during their stay it provides them with accommodation, food and basic sanitary supplies.
- UNHCR ensures issuing of travel documents to refugees and during their stay in Slovakia it covers the costs of indispensable and urgent health care and provides social services to refugees.
- IOM is responsible for international transport of refugees from a refugee camp to the Slovak Republic and from the Slovak Republic to the final country of resettlement. IOM further provides services related to resettlement – cultural orientation and/or language training, medical examinations for the purpose of resettlement, series of vaccinations against hepatitis, measles, diphteria, pertussis and tetanus and other diseases as well as fit to travel medical examinations prior to departure to the country of resettlement.
From 2009, IOM in cooperation with its partners transferred altogether 1,026 refugees to the ETC in Slovakia from camps in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The refugees were from Afghanistan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Somalia and Sudan. During the same time IOM resettled 1,034 refugees from the ETC in Slovakia to countries that gave them a new home. Most of them were admitted by the US, some by Canada, Norway and Sweden.
The activities of IOM in this project are financed by the US Government through its USRAP Program – United States Refugee Admissions Program or by similar programmes of other resettlement countries. IOM vaccination activities are financed by the US Department of State and Department of Health and Human Services.