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Australian humanitarian contribution to Afghanistan.



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News Room

Australian Humanitarian Contribution to Afghanistan MPS 071/2001

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Alexander Downer Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock

The Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Alexander Downer, today jointly announced that $5.3 million was being made available for humanitarian aid initiatives for Afghanistan.

Twenty years of civil war compounded by the worst drought in living memory has left Afghanistan facing a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented levels.

The Ministers said the aid was part of an integrated approach focusing on activities to address the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, bolster protection for Afghan refugees in the region and reduce the potential for irregular migration and people smuggling.

The initiatives were in line with Australia's stated commitment to supporting the United Nations system of international protection by stabilising displaced populations in the region and assisting countries such as Iran and Pakistan which are host to large populations of displaced Afghans.

The details of the initiatives are:

$2.5 million to the UNHCR's South West Asia Appeal to assist countries of first asylum to receive and maintain asylum seekers from Afghanistan, and to strengthen their registration and refugee status determination programs.

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$2 million for projects in the 2001 Consolidated Appeal for Afghanistan for development, poverty eradication and emergency food activities launched by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

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$0.8 million to the International Organisation for Migration to assist in stabilising the population in Afghanistan and to develop sustainable return and reintegration procedures.

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Mr Ruddock also announced today that the Government would provide up to $2.5 million from Immigration Portfolio funds to an appeal launched by the International Organisation for Migration to assist the Maslakh camp for internally displaced people in Western Afghanistan.

This brings Australia's assistance to Afghanistan and Afghan refugees living in Iran and Pakistan to $12 million this financial year.

The latest funding allocations reflect Australia's commitment to building concerted international support to address the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and the development of a solution for the long standing often neglected needs of large numbers of Afghan refugees in Iran and Pakistan.

7 June 2001 Media Contact: Mr Ruddock's Office - Steve Ingram (02) 6277 7860 Mr Downer's Office - Matt Francis 0419 206 890

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