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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Philippine Government, IOM, UNHCR Sign Refugee Transit Agreement

28 August 2009-The Philippines, IOM and UNHCR yesterday signed a Memorandum
of Agreement on providing emergency transit facilities in the Philippines
for refugees in need of immediate international protection.

The agreement aims to establish modalities for the transit and processing of
refugees in the Philippines who risk being sent back to countries from which
they have fled (refoulement) or who need to transit in another country,
pending the processing of their cases and their subsequent resettlement in a
third country.

Under the agreement, IOM will provide transport to and within the
Philippines for the refugees, as well as onward transport to resettlement
countries. It will also provide medical screening on arrival and prior to
departure, as well as cultural orientation to prepare them for their new
lives in resettlement countries.

The deal, signed by Philippines Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo and
senior representatives of IOM and UNHCR, is the first formal arrangement of
its kind.

"This agreement will result in better protection for refugees in high risk
situations, who can now be evacuated to the safety of the Philippines and
processed, prior to their permanent resettlement in a third country," said
IOM Manila Administrative Centre Director Bruce Reed.

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