conflicts

Australia commits more money to refugee crisis in Syria, but slow start to resettlement

by Ray Clancy on March 31, 2016

in Australia Immigration

Australia has committed a further eight and a half million dollars to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in response to the Syrian refugee crisis.

The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton announced the extra funding at a UNHCR meeting in Geneva and said that the country has now committed more than $258 million to the humanitarian response to the Syria and Iraq conflicts since 2011.

He explained that the additional funding would assist the UNHCR to deliver on the increased refugee resettlement and activities they are managing to support this including procedures streamlining, additional staffing including integrity officer positions, a staff training rollout to link resettlement with protection activities and biometric registration enhancements.

syria

It will also support UNHCR’s administration of engagements in 2016 with the goal of improving the global response to refugee and displacement crises including Syria.

“Australia has also committed 12,000 resettlement places additional to an intake of more than 4,000 places for Syrians and Iraqis in Australia’s annual humanitarian programme of 13,750 places,” Dutton said.

“Australia has made a significant commitment to the global pool of resettlement places by increasing our overall humanitarian programme over a four year period. We remain committed to working with the international community to find practical solutions to the challenges being faced,” he added.

But he has been criticised over the slow intake of refugees with fewer than 30 refugees currently resettled in Australia as part of the Government’s 12,000 intake from Iraq and Syria.

Dutton has refused to say when more will be settled but said that about 9,000 people have been interviewed and assessed and are being processed through health, security and character checks while more than 1,600 visas have been granted to people displaced by the conflict in Syria and Iraq.

He also confirmed that visas are likely to be granted to family groups rather than single men over fear that Australia could inadvertently allow would be terrorists into the country.

But the slow rate of resettlement has been criticised by refugee groups who point out that Canada, for example, has resettled 1,000 Syrian refugees for every one Australia has welcomed to its shores in the past six months.

{ 1 comment }