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IRC in Europe

IRC in Brussels

IRC Belgium leads on the IRC's engagement with the EU institutions. Our priority is to ensure that EU policy and legislation meets the needs of those affected by conflict and disaster. We use IRC’s learning and experience to shape EU humanitarian and development policies in ways that improve the lives of more people worldwide. We seek to drive policy change on the refugee crisis in Europe and globally, and to ensure that EU funding for the global refugee crisis is targeted effectively.

IRC Belgium is part of a strong and flourishing European network, working closely with our offices in Germany, UK, Greece, Switzerland, and Serbia, as well as our sister organisation Stichting Vluchteling (SV) in the Netherlands. 

The IRC & the EU 

• The European Union and its member states are collectively the world’s largest aid donor. Our engagement with the European institutions enables us to help shape effective, evidence- based policies that bring maximum benefit for beneficiaries.

• IRC advocates for a sustainable, sensible and above all humanitarian response to the refugee crisis, including the provision of safe and legal routes to protection in the EU.

• We draw on our knowledge of the situation on the ground in Greece and the Balkans to advocate for solutions to address the humanitarian crisis within Europe’s borders.


Brief: Urban Response Practitioner Workshop

Today, more than half of the world’s 59.5 million forcibly displaced people live in urban areas and their average length of displacement is over a decade.2 In Asia, the world’s fastest urbanizing continent, countries like Iran and Pakistan are among the top-10 major refugee-hosting countries in the world, while Afghanistan remains the second largest source of refugees globally behind Syria.3 In Southeast Asia, Thailand serves as the region’s primary destination for refugees and asylum seekers, with over half a million people of concern living in the country in 2015. These trends have significant implications for cities within the region, including heightened challenges for providing basic services to the city’s existing inhabitants as well as new residents. They also impact the changing humanitarian landscape, where traditional humanitarian responses have been most often designed for camp or rural/remote contexts. In order to better understand these issues, to learn from challenges and successes, and to identify more appropriate ways of working, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) hosted an Urban Practitioner Workshop on Meeting Needs in a Context of Urban Displacement in Asia. The aim of the workshop was to bring together humanitarian, international development, community organizations, and local municipal actors called into action by various urban crises within the region.

January 26, 2017

Joint statement: NGOs call upon EU institutions and Member States to expand the use of safe and legal channels for refugees

Joint statement: NGOs call upon EU institutions and Member States to expand the use of safe and legal channels for refugees

January 25, 2017

Stand and Deliver

On 4 February 2016, the international community agreed on a ‘comprehensive new approach’ to address the protracted Syria crisis at the “Supporting Syria and the Region” Conference in London. Donors, and neighbouring countries, which host the vast majority of those who have fed Syria, committed to significant financial pledges and policy changes to improve the lives of refugees and host communities.

January 24, 2017

Violence in the City: A Systematic Review of the Drivers of Violence against Displaced Populations in Urban Crisis and Post-crisis Settings

Humanitarian aid to refugee and internally displaced people (IDPs) has increasingly shifted from rural and camp environments to urban areas in recent years, with 60% of all refugees and 80% of all IDPs currently living in urban areas. Risks of violence for displaced persons in camp-based humanitarian settings are well documented and include gender-based violence, intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and forced marriages, as well as a number of other forms of inter-communal violence, discrimination, and denial of resources, assistance, or assets. However, little is known about types and drivers of violence and interventions to reduce violence among displaced and host populations in urban areas, who likely face a different set of challenges due to the complex infrastructure, sociopolitical context, and service provision systems found in cities.

January 23, 2017

The Right to the City for Urban Displaced

Urbanisation is changing the nature of humanitarian response. In the 21st century,
the phenomenon is most prevalent in developing countries; it is estimated that cities in developing countries will account for 96 per cent of urban population growth between 2013 and 2030. Today, 80 per cent of all refugees worldwide are found in developing countries and 60 per cent of the global refugee population, or 36 million refugees, reside in urban areas.

January 23, 2017

European Refugee Crisis Situational Briefing - 2017 January

More than 10 months since the closure of borders across the Balkans and introduction of the European Union (EU) – Turkey deal, refugees continue to take increasingly dangerous sea and land journeys, putting their lives in the hands of smugglers, in order to reach safety in Europe. Once stranded in Greece or along the Balkan route, many endure life in substandard conditions, in winter, without adequate information about their rights or available services and support, waiting to complete their asylum, family reunification or relocation procedures, with an increasingly uncertain future. Already this year, five refugees have died as a result of the winter conditions and dangerous routes within Europe.

January 23, 2017

What can be done to promote, support and facilitate solutions processes in the early stages of displacement?

Focusing on the South Sudanese refugee caseload in Kenya and Uganda, this study sought to identify challenges and opportunities vis-à-vis early solutions planning and practical actions that can be taken to operationalise early solutions planning.

December 5, 2016

Learning from Lesbos: Lessons from the IRC's emergency response in the urban areas of Lesbos

As the European refugee crisis highlights, displaced people are increasingly travelling to or through towns and cities, rather than being accommodated in centralised camp settings. Today, more than half of the world’s displaced people live in urban areas and will, on average, continue to be displaced for over a decade. The humanitarian sector must adapt to meet the challenges of an urbanising world and the increasing role of cities as places of refuge, as well as sites of heightened risk of crisis, marginalisation, and inequality. It is therefore critical that humanitarian actors take a coordinated and collaborative approach to supporting refugees and migrants, tailoring their response to suit the urban context and its various stakeholders.

November 21, 2016

Protecting Humanitarian Space in the Central African Republic

Improving Humanitarian Access is crucial to prospects of peace and stability in the Central African Republic In the Central African Republic, political crises over the past three years have resulted in violent conflict affecting nearly the entire population and leaving some 2.3 million people, over half the population, in dire need of assistance. The election of President Faustin-Archange Touadéra in February 2016 marked the return to constitutional order but the security situation remains volatile. In early November the Government of CAR published the final document of the Recovery and Peace Consolidation Plan (RCPCA), which will be presented during the Donors’ Conference on November 17th in order to mobilise funding from the international community. A humanitarian response plan (HRP) for the 2017-2019 period will follow and will focus on life-saving interventions, acute malnutrition, protection against acts of violence and the provision of basic services in unstable or inaccessible areas.

November 17, 2016

Rescuing Futures: Europe’s Vital Role in Refugee Resettlement

At a time when over 65 million people globally have been forced from their homes, this report—which follows IRC’s policy brief Pathways to Protection—makes the case for increased and improved refugee resettlement in Europe. The report calls on the EU to play a central role in refugee resettlement, including through the establishment of an ambitious EU Resettlement Framework that safeguards the humanitarian essence of resettlement and promotes the integration of resettled refugees. The report also provides concrete recommendations for the EU and its Member States to ensure that the number of resettlement places are increased in Europe, meaning more lives are saved, more protection is provided to the most vulnerable, and more futures are rescued.

November 14, 2016