The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) have signed a new understanding to promote employment possibilities for refugees, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and stateless persons.
The latest report by UNHCR shows that by the end 2015 there were 21.3 million refugees worldwide. Many of them either without work and consequently unable to contribute economically, or else barred from jobs in the formal sector and left scraping a living doing low-paid, menial and sometimes dangerous work.
“Allowing refugees to work helps them fend for themselves, restores confidence, and rebuilds their lives, but just as importantly it allows them to contribute economically to the communities they are part of,” said Volker Türk, UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection.
The new UNHCR-ILO Memorandum of Understanding focuses on developing better guidance to support Governments to find safe and decent work for refugees and people displaced inside their own countries. It also sets out steps aimed at ensuring the inclusion of refugees in labour markets and development initiatives.
“The current high levels of forced displacement cannot be dealt with by stopgap measures. This MoU will enable our two agencies to join forces and promote comprehensive durable solutions enabling refugees and other forcibly displaced persons to obtain decent work, while protecting their rights and supporting the countries and communities hosting refugees,” said Deborah Greenfield, Director-General for Policy at ILO.