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 Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid