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The research is in: Australians support refugees

20 June 2022 at 3:11 pm
Samantha Freestone
Research from Ipsos and Amnesty International Australia show Aussies' support for refugee intake is stronger than ever.

Samantha Freestone | 20 June 2022 at 3:11 pm


The research is in: Australians support refugees
20 June 2022 at 3:11 pm

Research from Ipsos and Amnesty International Australia show Aussies’ support for refugee intake is stronger than ever.

Aussies strongly support refugees, according to two separate pieces of research that were both released to coincide with World Refugee Day.

The first, a study from Ipsos carried out in collaboration with UNHCR, revealed that the majority of Australians (83 per cent) believe people should be able to take refuge in other countries, including Australia.

Meanwhile, a report from Amnesty International Australia found 72 per cent of Australians support either maintaining or increasing Australia’s humanitarian intake.

Although Amnesty International Australia’s full report, its annual Human Rights Barometer, is due for release in coming months, interim data pooled from the research was released on Sunday to coincide with World Refugee Day.

Refugee rights campaigner for Amnesty International Australia Zaki Haidari said the election result showed Australians have embraced a kinder and fairer approach to refugee policy.

“Now it’s time for the Albanese government to make good on its promise to abolish temporary protection visas as well as increasing the humanitarian intake to 30,000,” Haidari said.

The research also highlighted Australia’s support for community sponsorship of refugees.

Amnesty International also supports this. While a new Australian refugee program was announced at the end of 2021, Amnesty is advocating for community sponsorship to be additional to humanitarian intake to manage the unique refugee landscape globally.

“The outpouring of love and support from the Australian and Biloela community for the Nadesalingham family and the joy at seeing them going home to the community who loves them shows how passionate communities are to support people in need of safety, and how integral they become to those communities,” Haidari said.

“Australia has rejected the scare campaigns and have seen how devastating detention is on people whose only crime is to seek safety that we as a country are obliged to give them.”

Australians donating more than ever and happy to support those who are displaced

Findings from the Ipsos report which was carried out in 28 countries, further highlights Australians’ support following the global refugee crisis that is unfolding.

According to UNHCR there are now 100 million people displaced around the world, while the number of countries affected by conflict has doubled from what it was a decade ago, with Europe currently facing the largest forced movement of people since World War II.

The research found 83 per cent of respondents, including Australians, say people should be able to take refuge in other countries to escape persecution – an increase of seven percentage points since 2021.

Aussies are also donating in record-breaking amounts.

When the war in Ukraine began, Australians continued to give generously with the UNHCR’s Ukraine appeal raising more than $13 million, the most money the organisation has raised for an emergency appeal in its 22-year history.

Deputy representative for Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific at the UNHCR Nai Jit Lam explained that it is clear that the number of refugees are on the increase however she said she was heartened by the response from Australians.

“I think we have a lot to thank ordinary Australians for, for providing that support to all of us,” she said.

“With more conflicts and more and more people fleeing their homes, the right to seek asylum is becoming more and more important. Everyone has the right to seek protection and safety for themselves and their family. And I think Australians here are increasingly saying that too.”

Ambassador for Australia for UNHCR, Zaheda (Zoe) Ghani was born in Afghanistan but left with her family in the 1980s during the Soviet invasion, arriving in Australia when she was nine.

She told SBS News she was heartened by the generosity of Australians.

“That’s always been part of what’s inspired and kept us going in doing the work that we do, because that generosity is mind-blowing,” she said.

“When I think about the loss and the heartache that comes with the refugee conflict and the work that Australia for HCR and UNHCR does, I’m buoyed by the fact that Australians are coming out and supporting and standing with refugees.”

Samantha Freestone  |  @ProBonoNews

Samantha Freestone is a career reporter with a special interest in Indo-Pacific geopolitics, sustainable financial market reporting and politics.

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