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Regional refugee resettlement meeting to convene in Canberra tomorrow



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UNITED NATIONS NATIONS UNIES

HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES

HAUT COMMISSARIAT POUR LES REFUGIES

O ffic e o f th e Regional R ep re se ntative fo r A u s tra lia , N ew Z ealand, Papua N e w G uinea and th e S outh Pacific

9 Terrigal C resce n t, O 'M a lle y Canberra, A C T 2 6 0 6 , AU S TR A LIA Ph: 6 1 -2 -6 2 9 0 .1 3 5 5 ; Fx: 6 1 -2 -6 2 9 0 .1 3 1 5

PRESS RELEASE

R EG IO N A L REFUGEE R E S E T TL E M E N T M E E T IN G

T O C O N V E N E IN C A N B E R R A T O M O R R O W

The third regional trip a rtite consultations on resettlem ent of refugees will be held in Canberra in the Fitzroy Room at the National

Convention Centre on 2 1 -2 2 May 1 9 9 8 , hosted by the Regional

O ffice for Australia, N ew Zealand, Papua N ew Guinea and the South Pacific of the United Nations High Com m issioner fo r Refugees

(UNHCR).

The meeting brings to g e th e r in a trip a rtite fo rm a t, the G overnm ents of Australia and N ew Zealand, their respective non-governm ental organisations (NGOs), the International Organisation for M igration

and UNHCR. The tw o previous meetings w ere held in Canberra on 17 May 1 9 9 6 and 27 M ay 1 9 9 7 . This third m eeting is the second one

to include observers fro m Canada, Papua N ew Guinea and the USA.

The m eeting's opening statem e nt w ill be made by the Hon. Philip

Ruddock, M.P., Australian M inister for Im m igration and M ulticultural A ffairs.

G overnm ents in this region have long sh o w n a c o m m itm e n t to assist the international c o m m u n ity in seeking solutions to refugee problems around the w orld. Australia and New Zealand together provide nearly 5 ,0 0 0 resettlem ent places to UNHCR annually. Per capita, both

countries rank among the m ost generous resettlem ent countries. Resettlem ent of a refugee to a third cou n try is norm ally the last

option when no other solution is possible. It is anticipated th a t only a small fraction of the w o rld 's 2 2 .7 million refugees are in need of

resettlem ent. Issues for discussion include the resettlem ent of

refugees w ith special needs or otherw ise at risk. The t w o themes

proposed for this meeting are a) rese ttlem en t of refugees w ith special needs and other vulnerable groups, and b) stra te g ie s for

G overnm ents, NGOs and UNHCR co-operation on re s e ttle m e n t. Each th e m e w ill be addressed by a w o rkin g group fo llo w in g th e plenary

session on Thursday, 21 M ay.

Participating delegates and NGOs w ill have a unique o p p o rtu n ity to share their vie w s and experiences on a w id e range of re s e ttle m e n t

issues, and to develop strategies for fu tu re co-operation in th e light

of global needs, priorities and trends.

V ie w s and recom m endations from this m eeting w ill feed in to the

ne xt UNHCR global meeting on resettlem ent in Geneva in June 1 9 9 8 .

The media are invited to the opening address by the M in is te r for

Im m igration and M ulticultural A ffa irs, the Hon. Philip R uddock M .P., which will begin promptly at 9 .3 0 a.m . on Thursday 21 M ay in the Fitzroy Room of the National Convention Centre. TV c re w s should the refore plan to have finished setting up their equipment bv no later than 9 .2 0 a .m . For in te rvie w or c o m m e n t by UNHCR s ta ff please

see c o n ta c t details below.

For fu rth e r information, contact:

Peter Steele External A ffairs Officer, UNHCR Regional Office, Canberra 9 Terrigal Crescent O 'M alley ACT 2606 Tel: (0 2 )6 2 9 0 1 3 5 5

Fax: (0 2 )6 2 9 0 1 3 1 5

20 M ay 1998