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

I am pleased to announce a contribution from the Australian Government of $13.5 million to support the work of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). This contribution will support the work of UNHCR in providing protection to refugees and displaced persons around the globe.

It is a sad fact that as we approach the end of the 20th Century, substantial numbers of displaced people make the work of UNHCR as vital now as it was at the time of the organisation's inception in 1949.

Today there are some 22 million people who are cared for by UNHCR. The vast majority of these are from developing countries. The Australian Government accepts its responsibility as a member of the international community to contribute to efforts to provide adequate care for these people until a durable solution to their plight can be found.

UNHCR has a well-earned reputation as an effective and efficient United Nations organisation. Under the capable leadership of Mrs Ogata, who I met today, the organisation has grown to meet the challenges of mass displacement thrown up by the post cold war era.

In addition, I am pleased to announce that Australia is providing $2.7 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to provide essential education, health, relief and social services to Palestinian refugees in the Middle East, as part of Australia's continuing efforts to support the restoration of peace in the region.

As well, $700,000 will be provided by the Australian Government through AusAID to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to support the work it has been doing for over 130 years in providing protection and assistance to victims of armed conflict and in promoting conflict prevention.

For further information contact:

Innes Willox, Minister's Office, 02 6277 7500; 0411 414 695

Geoff Adlide, AusAID, 02 6206 4967; 0417 683 126