News / Asia

Australia Offers to Resettle Thousands of Iraqi and Syrian Refugees

FILE - Syrian refugee families wait to be registered with the UNHCR services, during the Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop's visit to the compound, to meet with the UNHCR representative to Jordan, Andrew Harper, regarding the Syrian refugee situation, in Amman, Jordan, April 21, 2014.
FILE - Syrian refugee families wait to be registered with the UNHCR services, during the Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop's visit to the compound, to meet with the UNHCR representative to Jordan, Andrew Harper, regarding the Syrian refugee situation, in Amman, Jordan, April 21, 2014.
Phil Mercer

Australia's immigration minister, Scott Morrison, said the country will offer to resettle almost 4,500 refugees from Iraq and Syria. This will be part of Canberra's formal refugee intake of about 14,000 people each year. Morrison insists the places are available because of the government's success in stopping asylum-seeker boats.

Iraqi Christians and others from the Yazidi faith will be eligible for Special Humanitarian Visas in Australia. Canberra has set aside 2,200 places for refugees fleeing violence in Iraq and a similar number from Syria.   

Applicants will have to undergo standard health, security and identity checks before resettlement.

Morrison said that tough border control measures are allowing Australia to offer refuge to some of those displaced by fighting in the Middle East. The government in Canberra has deployed the navy to intercept vessels carrying asylum seekers, and is refusing resettlement to anyone arriving on unauthorized boats.  Boat arrivals are being transferred to Australian-sponsored camps on the tiny South Pacific republic of Nauru, and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.

But Ian Rintoul, from advocacy group the Refugee Action Coalition, said the government’s offer to resettle Christians and other ethnic and religious minorities from Iraq and Syria is confusing, coming while the asylum claims of other Iraqis are still to be assessed.

“There is an immediate contradiction with the government’s attitude and that is they have got 700-800 people from Iraq who are either in detention centers, living in limbo in the community or in offshore detention centers like Nauru and Manus Island that they are not proposing to do anything about.  They have denied even people - Iraqi people - who arrived by boat the right to family reunions.  So it is an extremely selective offer when there are already so many people in the community or in detention in Australia that the government is doing nothing about,” said Rintoul.

Last year, Australia granted humanitarian visas to more than 1,000 people from Syria, more than 2,000 from Iraq and almost 3,000 from Afghanistan.   

Refugee campaigners say Australia’s commitment to global resettlement programs has slipped into reverse since the conservative government took office in September last year, cutting the overall refugee intake from 20,000 to under 14,000.

You May Like

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: eusebio manuel vestias from: Portugal
August 18, 2014 2:00 PM
Thanks Australia help vulnerable populations in Syria and Iraq

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid