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UN temporarily suspends refugee resettlement travel amid COVID-19 pandemic
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UN temporarily suspends refugee resettlement travel amid COVID-19 pandemic

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said Tuesday that they will announce measures to suspend resettlement travel in the coming days that will remain in place for as long as necessary.

These measures come as many nations are closing their borders and have already placed holds on resettlement arrivals due to their current public health situations. In their announcement, the agencies noted that the public health measures taken by some nations have already resulted in families being stranded or separated from each other. Additionally, refugees face increased exposure to the virus when traveling.

In the meantime, the agencies are committed to working closely with refugees scheduled for resettlement to provide support. The agencies are working closely with nations to ensure that the most critical emergency cases can travel for resettlement.

The conclusion of this hold on resettlement travel is not determined at this time. The agencies’ announcement comes at a time when COVID-19 is an increasing concern and nations are putting more travel restrictions and social distancing measures in place. In this quickly changing environment, the agencies state that they will resume full resettlement travel “as soon as prudence and logistics permit.”

For more on COVID-19, see our special coverage.