Refugee week celebrates 25 years of Australia’s Women at risk programme

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Australia has helped resettle almost 14,500 refugee women and their families

Australia’s contributions to resettling almost 14,500 refugee women and their families over 25 years of the ‘woman at risk programme is being celebrated as part of Refugee Week 2014.

Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Hon Scott Morrison said Refugee Week, with the theme of Restoring Hope, was a fitting occasion to celebrate Australia’s generous humanitarian programme.

“This government’s successful border protection policies that are stopping the boats and preventing deaths at sea is resulting in a human dividend with a further 20,000 Special Humanitarian Programme places being made available, out to 2017-18,” Minister Morrison said.

“Labor denied places for those most in need by granting visas to people who arrived illegally by boat. In contrast this government is delivering 16,000 places over the budget and forward estimates period and more than 4,000 in the current financial year.Australia continues to be one of the top three refugee resettlement countries, as well as being one of only a small number of countries that manage dedicated refugee settlement programmes for women at risk and their dependents,” he added.

Minister Morrison said that while refugees face persecution and human rights abuses around the world, refugee women and their children are at even greater risk, particularly if they have become victims of gender-based violence, exploitation and abuse.  He added that it is estimated that more than half of the world’s refugees are women and children, and so it is timely to mark 25 years of Australia’s dedication to resettling vulnerable women and their families.

“Last year, the government increased the woman at risk quota to 1000 places, representing about 15 per cent of all refugee places in the humanitarian programme, and I am proud that we will maintain this allocation in 2014-15.Since the end of World War II, more than 800,000 refugees and others in humanitarian need have been resettled in Australia, assisting to shape Australia into what it is today,” he said.

Minister Morrison added that the government remains strongly committed to the humanitarian programme as an expression of Australia’s role as an international partner in sharing refugee protection responsibilities.

Refugee Week runs from 15 June to 21 June and coincides with World Refugee Day on 20 June. Refugee Week has been celebrated in Australia since the 1980s and a wide range of community events and activities are planned around the country in celebration.

Published in The Indian Sun (Indian Magazine  in Australia)

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