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Safe avenues to access protection in Europe

Europe has a long tradition of welcoming and supporting refugees and people affected by statelessness and forced displacement across the globe, as well as contributing to the adoption of international norms and standards that protect refugees and people seeking asylum. Despite this tradition, seeking asylum in Europe has become increasingly complicated and safe avenues to protection remain under-utilised by many European countries.

National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Europe engage with their authorities and encourage them to ensure safe pathways to access protection in Europe, while safeguarding the right of asylum seekers to apply for international protection irrespective of the way they arrived in Europe. National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies further implement different activities supporting safe avenues to protection, including resettlement, community sponsorship, humanitarian visas and family reunification.

Within the context of the Platform for European Red Cross and Red Crescent Cooperation on Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Migrants (PERCO), this handbook has been co-authored by the Swiss Red Cross, the German Red Cross, the Finnish Red Cross, and the French Red Cross, with support of the Red Cross EU Office. It provides an overview of the current policy and legal context, relevant good practices and activities carried out by National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and reflections on their shared experience supporting safe avenues to improve systems and raise awareness of the needs of people requiring protection.

The handbook concludes with a set of recommendations towards State authorities and other partners to ensure that safe avenues to protection in Europe are promoted and used appropriately. The recommendations focus on resettlement, community sponsorships and humanitarian visas as well as family reunification.

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