Global Refugee Forum, Geneva 13-15 December 2023
STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF ICELAND
H.E. Ms. Bryndís Hlöðversdóttir
Permanent Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office
Mr. Chair, Mr. High Commissioner, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.
We value the opportunity to take stock and look ahead, as conflict, violence and disasters continue to drive displacement around the world.
Since 2019, Iceland has strengthened the reception system, to better coordinate support and social integration of a rising number of refugees.
We have worked to enhance the self-reliance and social integration of refugees with disabilities, including through Icelandic sign language training for hearing-impaired refugees, who make up 20% of the hard-of-hearing society in Iceland.
Iceland has launched a pilot project to better respond to the needs of unaccompanied minors. By assigning individual case managers and providing tailored support plans we hope to ensure appropriate services for all unaccompanied minors seeking protection in Iceland.
I am pleased to confirm that we have now successfully received all those accepted for resettlement before COVID-19.
Since the emergency evacuation of Kabul in 2021, Iceland has promoted complimentary pathways for Afghans through family reunification.
Iceland stands by its goal to continue reception of resettlement refugees, focusing on individuals and families in vulnerable situations.
Iceland has taken on responsibilities in the EU Solidarity project, receiving groups of refugees from Afghanistan and Syria, and has pledged to assist with the relocation of Ukrainian refugees with special medical needs.
Iceland will continue to provide quality funding to UNHCR to ensure much-needed operational flexibility. I am pleased to announce that Iceland will soon enter into its third multi-year framework agreement with UNHCR, committing to predictable core contributions over the next five years.
Furthermore, we will continue to support refugee and host communities in Northern Uganda through comprehensive WASH interventions in schools and health facilities, in partnership with UNICEF.
The task is enormous, but now is not the time to lose hope. A strong international community committed to burden and responsibility sharing is part of the solution.
I thank you.