Australia responds to UNHCR request and agrees to resettle 500 Syrian refugees

پناهجویان سوری سوریه

The Federal Government has announced it will resettle 500 Syrian refugees as part of its humanitarian refugee program

The places will be quarantined for Syrians within the existing annual refugee intake, which is capped at 13,700

The United Nations says the Syrian crisis is a humanitarian tragedy which has killed more than 100,000 people and driven around 6.5 million others from their homes

More than 2 million refugees have fled Syria, many crossing the borders into Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan, and the international refugee agency UNHCR has called for the pressure on Syria’s neighbours to be eased

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says the commitment to resettle the refugees was made in response to the UNHCR’s request

He says the Government will work with the UNHCR to determine who gets the places, and that they will focus on highly vulnerable people in urgent need of protection

Mr Morrison says the decision should not be interpreted as an encouragement for asylum seekers to get on boats bound for Australia

Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council has called on all parties in the Syrian conflict to agree to humanitarian pauses in the fighting, and to provide routes for aid convoys

In a non-binding consensus statement, the council says there should be unhindered humanitarian access across conflict lines and across borders

The statement calls for the urgent, safe and unhindered delivery of assistance to hundreds of thousands of civilians caught up in the conflict

UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos says the statement sends a strong message

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop welcomed the UN Security Council’s resolution

She said the statement delivers a strong, unified message that all parties in Syria must urgently allow the UN and other humanitarian agencies to deliver assistance


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