Australia must step up to ease global refugee crisis

Heads of Government are meeting at a major refugee summit in Geneva, prompting World Vision to renew calls for the Australian Government to do its fair share and increase its refugee intake.

Australia has a moral obligation to more than double its current intake of refugees to 44,000 people as the world faces a global displacement crisis, according to World Vision Australia Senior Policy Advisor, Caelin Briggs.

“These are people who are owed protection under international law because they have fled their home countries due to persecution, war or violence,” Ms Briggs said.

While WVA welcomed Australia’s participation in this week’s Global Refugee Forum in Geneva, and the Federal Government’s work in supporting refugee responses worldwide, it was disappointing that no Australian ministers attended and Australia had not committed to making any new refugee resettlement places available.

“Sector calculations for Australia’s fair share indicate we should be taking a minimum of 44,000 humanitarian entrants per year,” Ms Briggs said. “The Government’s 2018-19 target of 18,750 places falls far short of this fair share figure.

“World Vision Australia encourages the Government to increase that intake to 44,000 places over the next five years.”

In November 2018, WVA wholeheartedly supported Australia’s endorsement of the Global Compact on Refugees, which committed Australia to “more predictable and equitable responsibility-sharing” for the world’s displacement crisis. It also backed the work Australia was doing in supporting gender and inclusion in its refugee responses.

But with a record 70.8 million people displaced by conflict and violence by the end of 2018, and a projected 1.44 million refugees needing resettlement in 2020, Australia could and should be doing more to respond, Ms Briggs said. A shocking 52 per cent of refugees are children.

“Australia took an important step in endorsing the Compact [on Refugees], but now is the time to put those commitments into action. If we want to see better responsibility-sharing for the global displacement crisis, Australia needs to step up.”

This week’s forum in Geneva will see nations make pledges on how they will put the Compact into action, such as providing new refugee resettlement places, financial or material contributions and technical assistance.

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