Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document

     3   Palestinian refugees from Syria

Ms Vamvakinou, pursuant to notice, moved—That this House:

(1)        acknowledges that:

(a)        29 November is International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People as observed by the United Nations (resolution 23/40 B);

(b)        following the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) was established to carry out direct relief and works programs for Palestinian refugees who had fled to West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria;

(c)        UNRWA services are available to all those living in its areas of operations—West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria—who are registered and who need assistance;

(d)        Palestinians registered with the UNRWA are unable to register with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and additionally cannot be referred for resettlement by the UNHCR;

(e)        Palestinian refugees from Syria are a vulnerable minority, who are currently fleeing for the same reasons as other genuine refugees and persecuted minorities; and

(f)         whilst not a legislative requirement, the UNHCR registration is a determining factor in the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s consideration of refugee and humanitarian visa applications; and

(2)        calls on the Government to:

(a)        recognise that the Palestinian refugees from Syria who are registered with the UNWRA are unable to register with the UNHCR irrespective of meeting the criteria for refugee status in the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention; and

(b)        work with the UNHCR to consider Palestinians fleeing Syria and registered with the UNWRA as eligible to apply for the Government’s recently announced intake of 12,000 refugees from the Syrian conflict.

Debate ensued.

Debate adjourned, and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for the next sitting.