Australia to resettle an additional 1000 refugees from Syria
Thursday, 13 September 2012
Joint media release with Chris Bowen MP - Minister for Immigration and Citizenship and Senator Bob Carr - Minister for Foreign Affairs.
An additional 1000 refugees caught up in the conflict in Syria will be resettled in Australia as part of the Government's expanded Humanitarian Program for 2012-13, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Bob Carr, announced today.
'This special targeted intake will form part of the recently announced increase to 20 000 places and will be predominantly made up of refugees originally from Iraq,' Mr Bowen said.
'It will build on Australia's existing commitment to the resettlement of Iraqi minorities and other vulnerable groups in the Middle East that have been referred for resettlement by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
'Our increased humanitarian program further entrenches Australia's position as the top resettlement country in the world per capita and enables us to be more responsive to emerging crises such as the one in Syria.'
According to recent figures from the UNHCR, 253 106 people have already fled Syria and are now registered with UNHCR in neighbouring countries Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq.
Senator Carr said Australia had taken a lead in supporting those who had fled the Syrian crisis, with food, shelter and emergency medical care for those in camps in those countries.
'Today's decision builds on our $20.5 million in humanitarian aid - including food, medicines and emergency care for the thousands of families and children that have fled across Syria's borders since fighting began,' Senator Carr said.
'And it supports the work of our team on the ground, providing engineering, logistics and child protection services in the refugee camps on Syria's borders.
'It's what Australians do - helping those in desperate need with food, medical aid and now resettlement away from the conflict zone.'
Mr Bowen said many of those to be resettled will have family and other community links in Australia.
'I have received many representations from communities in Australia who are gravely concerned about family members who are in Syria and have been caught up in the violence,' he said.
'The additional 1000 refugees will include people still inside Syria as well as some who have fled Syria to neighbouring countries.
'We will continue to work with UNHCR and other international partners to facilitate the processing of vulnerable refugees throughout the Middle East.'
Last update: Thursday, 13 September 2012 at 14:55 AEST