Migration and Humanitarian Cooperation MoU signed with Afghanistan and UNHCR
Monday, 17 January 2011
The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Sydney with the Afghan Minister for Refugees and Repatriation, Dr Jamaher Anwary, and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Regional Representative, Richard Towle.
Mr Bowen said the MoU paved the way for the return from Australia to Afghanistan of unsuccessful Afghan asylum seekers.
The MoU covers humanitarian migration of Afghans to Australia under Australia's special humanitarian program, the provision of assistance to Afghanistan to build capacity in their government ministries, and the sustainable return to Afghanistan of Afghans found not to be owed protection by Australia.
'Australia sees this significant tripartite MoU as providing a robust framework for migration issues affecting all parties,' Mr Bowen said.
'The arrangement we have concluded today will assist in providing a framework for dealing with mixed flows of people from Afghanistan to the region as part of the Australian Government's broader efforts to reduce the incidence of people smuggler-facilitated irregular movements.
'In order to dissuade people from risking their lives by joining people smuggling ventures, it is important that Afghans found not to be owed protection by Australia are returned to Afghanistan.'
In association with the MoU, the Australian Government has agreed to undertake a number of initiatives intended to build capacity in relevant Afghan Government ministries and to assist the repatriation of displaced Afghans.
The largest undertaking will be to fund the upgrade of Afghanistan's passport issuing system to bring Afghan passports into line with international standards. Australia will also fund additional activities at the AliceGhan housing project near Kabul and various projects aimed at upgrading Afghanistan's governance abilities.
The arrangement will also provide reintegration support for Afghans who choose to return to Afghanistan. This may include in-kind assistance for provision of accommodation or initiatives such as skills training or small business creation.
MoU document – MoU between the Government of Australia, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on migration and humanitarian cooperation (696KB PDF file)
MoU Factsheet – Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Migration and Humanitarian Cooperation between Australia, Afghanistan and the UNHCR (12KB PDF file)
Last update: Monday, 17 January 2011 at 12:38 AEST