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Australia Must Triple Its Humanitarian Intake, Oxfam Says

19 August 2016 at 12:36 pm
Ellie Cooper
International aid agency Oxfam said Australia must triple its “shameful” intake of asylum seekers and refugees within five years, to 42,000, to help address the global humanitarian crisis.

Ellie Cooper | 19 August 2016 at 12:36 pm


Australia Must Triple Its Humanitarian Intake, Oxfam Says
19 August 2016 at 12:36 pm

International aid agency Oxfam said Australia must triple its “shameful” intake of asylum seekers and refugees within five years, to 42,000, to help address the global humanitarian crisis.

Refugees Syria

Credit: Istvan Csak /

Oxfam chief executive Dr Helen Szoke said Australia was in a position to do more to assist the “unprecedented” number of men, women and children forced to flee their homes.

“Australia has the capacity to take in more refugees and, as one of the world’s wealthy countries, must do its share to address the global migration crisis,” Szoke said.

“The UN has confirmed the number of forcibly displaced people globally is rising and now stands at 65 million. This is the highest number of people forced to flee their homes since WWII.”

According to the United Nations, there are 21.3 million refugees worldwide, up from 19.5 in 2014, 3.2 million asylum seekers and 40.8 million people displaced within their own countries.

Australia is the 12th richest nation, yet has taken in only 0.2 per cent of the world’s refugees and asylum seekers.

“Based on Australia’s economy, population and the increasing wave of people seeking refuge across the globe, Australia can and must commit to increasing Australia’s humanitarian intake from 13,750 this year to 42,000 by 2020/21,” Szoke said.

“Last year, Germany hosted more than one million refugees and asylum seekers – 1.3 per cent of its population. We’re asking Australia to take 42,000 people, which is 0.18 per cent of our population.”

The government has only committed to marginally increasing its permanent places each year, to 18,750 in 2018/19.

However, Oxfam is calling for an immediate but gradual increase in Australia’s humanitarian intake to 20,000 people this year, then 25,000, 30,000, 36,000 and 42,000 in the following years.

Szoke also said Australia needed to increase its foreign aid funding.

“Australian humanitarian funding to assist countries such as Jordan and Lebanon, which are hosting big refugee populations and are stretched beyond their limits, must also be boosted,” she said.

According to a recent Oxfam analysis, collectively, wealthy countries haven’t done enough to adequately assist in the humanitarian crisis.

It found the world’s six wealthiest countries – the US, China, Japan, Germany, the UK and France – representing almost two-thirds of global GDP, hosted less than 9 per cent of the world’s refugees.

Comparatively, the six countries and territories hosting half the world’s refugees and asylum seekers represented just 1.9 per cent of global GDP.

Developing countries host 86 per cent of the world’s refugees, with Turkey, Pakistan and Lebanon each hosting more than one million.

“The worldwide humanitarian crisis is far too big for any one country to fix alone. The time has come for Australia to accept its share of responsibility and play a role in a global solution,” Szoke said.

The organisation also said the Australian Government needed to be more transparent about its commitment – made almost a year ago – to resettle an additional 12,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

It’s currently unknown how many refugees have arrived in Australia so far, and Oxfam said the government should provide a timeframe for when the promise would be met in full.  

The call coincides with World Humanitarian Day on 19 August. This year’s theme, One Humanity, recognises aid workers who risk their lives every day.

“Treating fellow humans who are fleeing brutal wars, persecution and human rights abuses with compassion and dignity as they search for hope and safety is the right thing to do,” Szoke said.

Ellie Cooper  |  Journalist  |  @ProBonoNews

Ellie Cooper is a journalist covering the social sector.

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  • Craig says:

    42K per year is insane. More people straight to social security benefits – then multiply that as the years go by (plus family resettlement). What economy in the future will support even our own citizens? Increased automation, offshoring, outsourcing, decline in resources sector. Our Govt budgets are almost perpetually in the red. We import more than we export. Those figures on how many people we can import are economically BS. Google ‘technological singularity’.

    What of the social costs? Mostly men from cultures who are completely opposed to the idea of gender equality or any LGBTI rights. You can’t force them to change those culturally ingrained opinions. They don’t view our norms as superior but rather as quite offensive.

    Are Australian women prepared for their public space to be challenged? My wife recounted to me of an African guy telling off a women for riding in cycling clothes (as if it was his business to comment). She’s been accosted by Somali men who pushed her out of a phone booth so they could make a call. None of these guys are migrants we want. They aren’t going to integrate and assimilate. They will raise a generation of their own that will view Australian women as ‘sluts’.

    If the migration programmes were focused on kids under 12, I’d be open to that. But men? Nah. Go to a French banlieue and see how that goes. Go to some German suburbs in Berlin and see how you go if you’re a woman (make sure you dress modestly!). Ghettofication (ethnic/religious enclaves) already happening in Australia. This is NOT desirable and not conducive to societal harmony.

    These refugee advocates can GTFO. Once a Labor voter I went to the dark side when I couldn’t trust Labor to put the citizens of Australia first. We come first. Always. If a politician or party forgets that, then they too can GTFO.

    Don’t wave Germany about as a success story. Many Germans (not right wingers) have queried whether that was the right thing to do given the incidents that happened on New Years across Germany as well as a recent spate of lone wolf attacks as well as other ‘accommodations’ like segregating swimming pools post sex assaults by refugees. The Mayor of Cologne became a figure of ridicule on German social media when she advised women (in response to attacks) to keep their distance from men “‘stick together in groups, don’t get split up, even if you’re in a party mood’.”. The over 1 million refugees they invited are a one off. Merkel won’t (unless she is utterly insane) do another round.

    I’d be pleasantly surprised if a comment not of your echo chamber is published but what the hey.

  • Telh says:

    Citing Germany is interesting since they are reeling from the associated terrorism & social disruption that these ungratefuls bring with them. I would be happy for Australia to take more refugees as and when we are able. BUT not Muslims. Not Muslims under any circumstances – let Saudi Arabia take them.

  • Sandra says:

    What rot. Based on our population, we have been one of the most generous nations on earth in terms of giving to humanitarian causes. We can’t sustain a huge migration push as most of the interior of our continent is not conducive to building large inner cities. We don’t have the infrastructure and will one day be in dire straits ourselves with water being at a minimum and selling off our food farms to overseas interests. As for the migration situation, it shouldn’t be allowed to happen worldwide. People need to stay in their own countries and rebuild them. The west should not be burdened with uncivilised humans that scab off the west all the time and bring their corrupt and violent ways our way. We also have major budget deficit problems that the Federal Govt are trying to fix right now, and that can be attributed to the asylum seekers/economic migrants that have been helped in the past.


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