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United Nations High Commission for Refugees Executive Committee Meeting, Geneva, 7-11 October, 1996



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87*10 96 15:37 AVST MISSION GVA ® 002 ·ÎŒ11 *0*4122 733 56 64

AUSTRALIA

UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSION FOR REFUGEES EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING

7 TO 11 OCTOBER 1996

STATEMENT BY THE HON PHILIP RUDDOCK MP MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND MULTICULTURAL AFFAIRS

GENEVA

7 OCTOBER 1996 CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY

AUSTRALIAN PERMANENT MISSION 56, RUE DE MOILLEBEAU - 1211 GENEVA 19 - TELEPHONE 918 29 00

0 7 1 0 99 1 5 : 3 7 Q N 1 2 2 733 56 64 AVST MISSION GVA @ 0 0 3 /

1

THE PURSUIT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF DURABLE SOLUTIONS - AN AUSTRALIAN PERSPECTIVE

MR CHAIRMAN

ON BEHALF OF THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT AND THE

DELEGATION, I WISH TO CONGRATULATE YOU ON YOUR

ELECTION AS CHAIRMAN OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE.

I AM PLEASED TO BE HERE AT MY FIRST EXECUTIVE

CO M M ITT EE MEETING REPRESENTING AUSTRALIA AS THE

MINISTER IN THE NEW GOVERNMENT RESPONSIBLE FOR

I MM IGR AT ION AND REFUGEE ISSUES.

THE FACT THAT 1 AM HERE TODAY AS MINISTER IS A

RE F LE CT IO N OF THE SENSE OF URGENCY FELT ON THE

ISSUE OF REFUGEE DETERMINATION SYSTEMS BY THE

AU S T R A L IA N GOVERNMENT AS BY OTHER GOVERNMENTS

IN MANY PARTS OF THE WORLD. THE IMPORTANCE OF

CARR YING PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR PROGRAMS SUCH AS

THIS W HICH REQUIRE CONSIDERABLE RESOURCES WILL

BE CLEAR TO ALL OF US.

WHEN THERE ARE PERCEPTIONS THAT THE SYSTEM IS

BEING MANIPULATED BY SOME PEOPLE WHO, AT BEST,

HAVE MARGINAL CLAIMS, PRIMARILY THROUGH ONSHORE

AP P L IC A TI O N S IN PLACES LIKE AUSTRALIA, THEN PUBLIC

SUP PO RT IS LOST. I SHOULD EMPHASISE THAT

A U S T R A L I A TAKES JUSTIFIABLE PRIDE IN ITS POST WAR

RECORD IN RESPONDING TO THE PLIGHT OF REFUGEES

•ΊΟ 96 15:35 © 4 1 2 2 733 56 64 Λ 1ST MISSION G\"A @ 0 0 4 < ‘011

2

A ND D I S P L A C E D P E R S O N S FROM A R O U N D THE W O R L D .

WE H A V E C O N S I S T E N T L Y O F F E R E D A S S I S T A N C E TO

P E O P L E C A U G H T UP IN H U M A N I T A R I A N C R I S E S AND HAVE

P R O V I D E D R E S E T T L E M E N T O P P O R T U N I T I E S FOR T H E M .

T H E O F F I C E OF THE U N H C R HAS A C K N O W L E D G E D T HE

P R O B L E M OF P E O P L E A T T E M P T I N G TO USE A S Y L U M

S Y S T E M S TO C I R C U M V E N T N O R M A L M I G R A T I O N

C R I T E R I A . WE A RE C O N C E R N E D TO E N S U R E T H A T WE

O F F E R P R O T E C T I O N TO T H O S E IN G E N U I N E NEED, T H A T

IS, T H E M O S T D E S E R V I N G IN V U L N E R A B L E S I T U A T I O N S IN

C A M P S O V E R S E A S , R A T H E R T H A N TO T H O S E WH O A RE

B E S T A B L E TO A C C E S S T HE S Y S T E M.

MR C H A I R M A N , MY G O V E R N M E N T IS C O N C E R N E D A B O U T

T H E R O L E B E I NG T A K E N BY J U D I C I A L B O D I E S W H I C H A RE

E X P A N D I N G T HE I N T E R P R E T A T I O N OF A S P E C T S OF T H E

R E F U G E E C O N V E N T I O N B E Y O N D T H A T E N V I S A G E D W H E N

A C C E D I N G TO THE C O N V E N T I O N .

W H I L E W E I N T E N D T O M A I N T A I N A T R A N S P A R E N T A N D

F A I R D E T E R M I N A T I O N P R O C E S S , I N O N E T H E L E S S

B E L I E V E T H A T IT IS I M P O R T A N T FOR US TO RE D UCE THE

P R O C E S S I N G T I M E A ND C O S T OF T H E S Y S T E M, AS T HI S

C L E A R L Y I M P A C T S ON O U R A B I L I T Y TO A S S I S T G E N U I N E

R E F U G E E S AND TO C A R R Y OUT O T H E R I M P O R T A N T

M A T T E R S SUCH AS S E T T L E M E N T S E R V I C E S .

I AM A L S O C O N C E R N E D W I T H W H A T MAY BE AN

E M E R G I N G T R E N D BY S OME A S Y L U M S E E K E R S TO

P R O L O N G I N D E F I N I T E L Y T H E I R S T A Y IN A U S T R A L I A .

S O M E A R E P U R S U I N G A P P E A L S B E Y O N D T HE

07-10 96 15:38 O ' -1122 733 56 6-1 ΛVST MISSION GVa 0ΟΟ5-Ό11.

3

E S T A B L I S H E D D E T E R M I N A T I O N A N D C O U R T S Y S T E M S T O

I N T E R N A T I O N A L B O D I E S S U C H A S T H E U N I T E D N A T I O N S

H U M A N R I G H T S C O M M I T T E E , O N T H E B A S I S OF

I N T E R N A T I O N A L I N S T R U M E N T S O T H E R T H A N T H E

R E F U G E E C O N V E N T I O N .

A T T E M P T S TO ADD E X T R A LAYERS OF REVI EW BEYOND

T H O S E A L R E A D Y P R O V I D E D WI LL ADD COSTS AND

DE L A Y S , A N D COULD U L T I M A T E L Y UNDERMI NE

A U S T R A L I A ’ S C O M P R E H E N S I V E REFUGEE

D E T E R M I N A T I O N SYSTEM. THE GOV E RNME NT WI L L NOT

A L L O W T H I S TO OCCUR.

MR C H A I R M A N , TO A D D R E S S SOME OF THESE CON C E R N S

WE HAVE I M P L E M E N T E D T W O I MPORTANT I NI TI ATI VES .

THE F I R S T IS TO SET A C E I L I N G ON THE EXTENT OF

A U S T R A L I A ’ S A S S I S T A N C E TO RESETTLE REFUGEES. THI S

C E I L I N G I N C L U D E S T W O T H O U S A N D PLACES FOR PEOPLE

W H O MA Y BE G R A N T E D R E F U G E E STATUS IN A US T R A L I A .

IF MO RE T H A N TWO T H O U S A N D PEOPLE QUAL I FY FOR

R E F U G E E S T A T U S O NS HO RE , THEY WI L L TAKE THE

P L A C E S OF R E F U G E E S OV E RS E A S WHO THE UNHCR

W O U L D LI KE US TO R E S E T T L E .

S E C O N D L Y , I HAVE C O M M I S S I O N E D A RE V I E W OF

I M M I G R A T I O N AND R E F U G E E DECI SI ON MAKI NG TO

E N S U R E T H A T A U S T R A L I A HAS A COST EFFECTI VE AND

E F F I C I E N T P RO CE S S FOR A S S E S S I N G A P P L I C A T I O N S FOR

R E F U G E E S T A T U S . C O M M U N I T Y ORGANI SAT I ONS HAVE

BEEN C O N S U L T E D AS PA RT OF THE REVI EW PROCES S

A ND THE R E G I O N A L R E P R E S E N T A T I V E OF UNHCR IN

A U S T R A L I A MADE A S U B M I S S I O N .

07 10 96 15:39 Ό Ν 1 2 2 733 56 84 AVST MISSION GVA 0 0 0 6 . · o n

4

W E H A V E A T W O T I E R D E T E R M I N A T I O N S Y S T E M F O R

P E O P L E W H O A R E I N A U S T R A L I A A N D W H O S E E K O U R

P R O T E C T I O N U N D E R T H E 1S51 C O N V E N T I O N A N D 1 9 6 7

P R O T O C O L . I N T H E F I R S T I N S T A N C E , P E R S O N S

C L A I M I N G T O BE R E F U G E E S H A V E T H E I R C L A I M S

A S S E S S E D BY O F F I C I A L S W I T H I N MY D E P A R T M E N T

A P P L Y I N G O B J E C T I V E C R I T E R I A W I T H O U T D I R E C T I O N AS

T O O U T C O M E .

U N S U C C E S S F U L A P P L I C A N T S M A Y S E E K A F U L L M E R I T S

R E V I E W OF T H E I R C A S E B Y T H E I N D E P E N D E N T R E F U G E E

R E V I E W T R I B U N A L . A P P L I C A N T S W H O A R E D I S S A T I S F I E D

W I T H A R E V I E W D E C I S I O N M A Y C H A L L E N G E I TS L E G A L I T Y

I N T H E C O U R T S . T H E D A N G E R I S T H A T T O O M A N Y

S C A R C E R E S O U R C E S A R E B E I N G D E V O T E D T O C L A I M S

W H I C H , A T B E S T , A R E M A R G I N A L .

M R C H A I R M A N , O N E I S S U E W H I C H N E E D S C L A R I F I C A T I O N

I S T H E I N T E R P R E T A T I O N O F M E M B E R S H I P OF A

P A R T I C U L A R S O C I A L G R O U P . W E W O U L D U R G E U N H C R

T O W O R K W I T H M E M B E R S OF T H E E X E C U T I V E

C O M M I T T E E T O C L A R I F Y T H E P A R A M E T E R S OF T H I S

P R O V I S I O N .

A N O T H E R C E N T R A L I S S U E I S T H E N E E D F O R C O U N T R I E S

W I L L I N G L Y T O A C C E P T B A C K T H E I R N A T I O N A L S W H O

H A V E NO L E G I T I M A T E R I G H T T O R E M A I N . I T I S

I M P O R T A N T T H A T A L L C O U N T R I E S R E C O G N I S E T H E I R

R E S P O N S I B I L I T Y I N T H I S R E G A R D A N D I C A L L U P O N

U N H C R T O P R E S S T H E U R G E N T N E E D F O R T H I S I N O R D E R

N O T T O A D D T O T H E C O S T S , O R T O U N D E R M I N E T H E

I N T E G R I T Y , OF R E F U G E E D E T E R M I N A T I O N S Y S T E M S .

0 7 - 1 0 06 1 3 : 3 3 Ώ Ν 122 7 33 56 6-1 AVST MISSION GVA @ 0 0 7 / 0 1 1 .

3

MR C H A I R M A N , T H E A U S T R A L I A N G O V E R N M E N T F U L L Y

S U P P O R T S U N H C R ' S V I E W T H A T FOR THE V A S T

M A J O R I T Y OF R E F U G E E S A ND D I S P L A C E D P EOPL E,

V O L U N T A R Y R E P A T R I A T I O N IN C O N D I T I O N S OF S A F E T Y

A N D D I G N I T Y IS T H E A P P R O P R I A T E L ON G T E R M

S O L U T I O N .

WE B E L I E V E T H A T R E S E T T L E M E N T IS AN I MP ORTA NT

A N D P R O P E R S O L U T I O N FOR SOME REFUGEES. AS I SAID

E A R L I E R , A U S T R A L I A REMAI NS COMMI TTED TO A S S I ST I N G

G E N U I N E R E F U G E E S IN NEED OF RESETTLEMENT.

A U S T R A L I A ’ S A N N U A L HUMA NI TA RI A N PROGRAM AI MS TO

A S S I S T U N H C R R E S E T T L E AN I DENTI FI ED CASELOAD .

B A S E D ON ITS A S S E S S M E N T OF W O R L D W I DE

R E S E T T L E M E N T NEEDS AND TO ASSI ST PERSONS

O V E R S E A S W H O ARE S U F F E R I NG S I GNI F I CA NT

D I S C R I M I N A T I O N OR ARE IN OTHER V UL NE R A B L E

H U M A N I T A R I A N S I T U A T I O N S AND HAVE CLOSE LINKS TO

A U S T R A L I A .

IN T HE Y E A R TO 30 JUNE 1996, WE RESP ONDED TO THE

C A L L F R O M U N H C R FOR R E S E T T L E M E N T PLACES FOR

P E O P L E F R O M T HE F O R M E R Y UGOS L A V I A AND THOSE

S T I L L IN C A M P S F O L L O W I N G THE GULF WAR. OF THE

1 5 , 0 0 0 P E O P L E WE R E S E T T L E D , OVER 10, 000 WERE FROM

T H E F O R M E R Y U G O S L A V I A AND THE MI DDLE EAST AND

O V E R 6 0 0 P E O P L E W E R E RESE TTLED UNDER OUR WOMA N

A T RI S K P R O G R A M .

07 l u 90 1 5 : 40 Ό * 4 1L'2 733 56 64 AVST M IS S IO N GVA

I N T H E C U R R E N T P R O G R A M Y E A R , WE H A V E M A I N T A I N E D

T H E R E F U G E E C O M P O N E N T A T T H E P R E V I O U S L E V E L ,

A L T H O U G H W E H A V E H A D TO R E D U C E T H A T C O M P O N E N T

W H I C H A S S I S T E D W I T H T H E R E U N I O N OF P E O P L E W H O

A R E N O T I N R E F U G E E - L I K E S I T U A T I O N S .

M R C H A I R M A N , I A M V E R Y P L E A S E D T O A N N O U N C E T H A T

T H E A U S T R A L I A N G O V E R N M E N T , I N P A R T N E R S H I P W I T H

U N H C R , W I L L H O S T A C O N F E R E N C E ON R E G I O N A L

A P P R O A C H E S T O R E F U G E E S A N D D I S P L A C E D P E R S O N S

I N N O V E M B E R T H I S Y E A R . I T W I L L P R O V I D E A V A L U A B L E

O P P O R T U N E ? F O R C O U N T R I E S T O M E E T A N D D I S C U S S

I S S U E S R E L A T I N G T O R E F U G E E S A N D D I S P L A C E D

P E R S O N S A N D I T W I L L BE T H E F I R S T C O N F E R E N C E OF

I T S T Y P E I N A S I A A N D T H E P A C I F I C .

I H O P E T H A T T H E C O N F E R E N C E W I L L BE T H E S T A R T OF

A N O N G O I N G D I A L O G U E ON R E F U G E E S , D I S P L A C E D

P E R S O N S A N D A S Y L U M S E E K E R S I N O U R R E G I O N N O W

T H A T T H E C O M P R E H E N S I V E P L A N OF A C T I O N HAS B E E N

C O N C L U D E D . I T C O U L D A L S O S E R V E A S A U S E F U L

M O D E L F O R O T H E R P A R T S OF T H E W O R L D .

M R C H A I R M A N , A S F U R T H E R E V I D E N C E O F O U R S U P P O R T

F O R T H E W O R K OF T H E U N H C R I N A S S I S T I N G R E F U G E E S

A N D S E E K I N G D U R A B L E S O L U T I O N S , T H E A U S T R A L I A N

G O V E R N M E N T H A S M A I N T A I N E D T H E L E V E L OF O U R

C O N T R I B U T I O N T O U N H C R ’ S B U D G E T OF $ 1 3 . 5 M I L L I O N

F O R 1 9 9 6 - 9 7 , D E S P I T E T H E D I F F I C U L T B U D G E T A R Y

C I R C U M S T A N C E S W E F O U N D ON A S S U M I N G O F F I C E .

07/10 96 15: -10 ” 23*4122 7 33 56 6 4 AVST MISSION GYA 12,003/011

7

T H E G O V E R N M E N T W A S P A R T I C U L A R L Y P L E A S E D TO

H A V E H O S T E D A V I S I T TO A U S T R A L I A E A R L I E R T H I S Y E A R

F O R T H E H I G H C O M M I S S I O N E R MRS O G A T A A ND T HE

D I R E C T O R OF A S I A P A C I F I C B U R E A U , MR FO UI NAT. T H I S

W A S M R S O G A T A ' S F I R S T V I S I T TO A U S T R A L I A AS HI GH

C O M M I S S I O N E R .

T H E V I S I T R E I N F O R C E D T H E S T R O N G A ND V A L U E D L I N K S

A U S T R A L I A HAS W I T H U N H C R . AT HI S M E E T I N G W I T H

M R S O G A T A , T H E P R I M E M I N I S T E R , MR H O W A R D ,

R E I T E R A T E D ‘A U S T R A L I A ’ S C O M M I T M E N T TO T H E

R E S E T T L E M E N T OF R E F U G E E S A N D A S S I S T I N G IN

R E F U G E E E M E R G E N C I E S .

M R C H A I R M A N , I W O U L D L I K E TO C O M M E N D U N H C R F O R

I T S R O L E I N R E L A T I O N T O R E F U G E E S A N D D I S P L A C E D

P E R S O N S I N T H E F O R M E R Y U G O S L A V I A .

A S T H E L E A D A G E N C Y , IT HAS P R O V I D E D MU C H OF T H E

E M E R G E N C Y A S S I S T A N C E R E Q U I R E D TO F EED A N D

S H E L T E R P E O P L E W H O H A D BE E N D I S P L A C E D BY T H E

C O N F L I C T . I T H A S P U R S U E D T H E I S S U E OF P R O V I D I N G

P R O T E C T I O N B O T H W I T H I N T H E S T A T E S OF T HE F O R M E R

Y U G O S L A V I A A N D E L S E W H E R E A N D I T HAS P U R S U E D

D I A L O G U E ON H U M A N I T A R I A N I S S U E S W I T H T HE

P R O T A G O N I S T S IN T H E C O N F L I C T .

T H I S H A S G O N E A L O N G W A Y T O W A R D S P R O V I D I N G

W H A T T H E N O T E ON I N T E R N A T I O N A L P R O T E C T I O N C A L L S

" H U M A N I T A R I A N S P A C E ” T O A S S I S T IN T R Y I N G TO F I N D A

P O L I T I C A L S O L U T I O N T O T H E C O N F L I C T .

“ -07.-10

8

T H E N E C E S S I T Y OF I N T E G R A T I N G P O L I T I C A L AND

H U M A N I T A R I A N A P P R O A C H E S IN S O L V I N G T HE P R O B L E M

OF P O P U L A T I O N D I S P L A C E M E N T S IS H I G H L I G H T E D IN

C O U N T R I E S L I K E M O Z A M B I Q U E , C A M B O D I A AND T H E

F O R M E R Y U G O S L A V I A . IN EACH OF T H E S E

H U M A N I T A R I A N C R I S E S , T H E R E P A T R I A T I O N OF T H O S E

D I S P L A C E D HAS BEEN MA D E P O S S I B L E BY T H E

I M P L E M E N T A T I O N OF P O L I T I C A L A G R E E M E N T S

A C C O M P A N I E D BY R E H A B I L I T A T I O N A N D H U M A N I T A R I A N

A S S I S T A N C E .

T H I S HA S R E S U L T E D IN T H E R E T U R N OF O V E R 1. 7

M I L L I O N R E F U G E E S TO M O Z A M B I Q U E A N D M O R E T H A N

3 6 0 , 0 0 0 TO C A M B O D I A . A N D IN T HE C A S E OF T H O S E

D I S P L A C E D F R O M T H E F O R M E R Y U G O S L A V I A , WE L O O K

F O R W A R D T O T H E R E P A T R I A T I O N , IN S A F E T Y AND

D I G N I T Y , OF T H O S E F O R W H O M R E T U R N IS T HE

A P P R O P R I A T E D U R A B L E S O L U T I O N .

A L L C O U N T R I E S A F F E C T E D BY R E F U G E E A N D

H U M A N I T A R I A N C R I S E S , A N D R E L E V A N T I N T E R N A T I O N A L

O R G A N I S A T I O N S , NE E D TO BE I N V O L V E D IN A

C O M P R E H E N S I V E A P P R O A C H . IN S O U T H E A S T A S I A , T H E

C O M P R E H E N S I V E PL AN OF A C T I O N F OR I N D O C H I N E S E

R E F U G E E S ( C P A ) P R O V I D E S AN E X C E L L E N T M O D E L OF

H O W P A R T N E R S H I P S CAN W O R K E F F E C T I V E L Y .

T H E C P A HAS R E S U L T E D IN T H E R E T U R N A N D

R E I N T E G R A T I O N OF O V E R 8 8 , 0 0 0 P E O P L E TO V I E T N A M

A N D T H E R E S E T T L E M E N T OF OV E R 7 4 , 0 0 V I E T N A M E S E

R E F U G E E S S I N C E 19 8 9 - I N C L U D I N G O V E R 1 8 , 0 0 0 IN

• 96 15:11 O'-1122 733 56 64 AlST MISSION GVA 0 0 1 0 Oil

37/10 ·96 13:41 Ώ Ν 1 2 2 733 56 64 AUST MISSION GVA Φ ο ι ί / , ρ ΐ ι

9

A U S T R A L I A - A N D I M P O R T A N T L Y , AN END TO T HE

P R O B L E M OF M A S S O U T F L O W S OF P E O P L E .

T H E C P A W O U L D N E V E R HA V E BEEN S U C C E S S F U L

W I T H O U T T H E C O M B I N E D E F F O R T S OF C O U N T R I E S OF

O R I G I N , A S Y L U M A N D R E S E T T L E M E N T , OF U N H C R , I OM

A N D O T H E R I N T E R N A T I O N A L O R G A N I S A T I O N S AS W E L L

AS N O N - G O V E R N M E N T I M P L E M E N T I N G P A R T N E R S . I

W O U L D L I K E T O T A K E T H I S O P P O R T U N I T Y TO

C O N G R A T U L A T E U N H C R A N D T H E I N T E R N A T I O N A L

C O M M U N I T Y ON T H E S U C C E S S F U L C O M P L E T I O N OF T HE

C P A . ‘

T H E A U S T R A L I A N G O V E R N M E N T S U P P O R T S U N H C R ’ S

F O C U S ON C O M P R E H E N S I V E R E S P O N S E S , WE A R E KEEN

T O P R O M O T E P R E V E N T I V E M E A S U R E S W H I C H W I L L

A S S I S T T H E R E F U G E E C A U S E A N D F O S T E R R E G I O N A L

A P P R O A C H E S .

MR C H A I R M A N . I N C O N C L U D I N G I W O U L D L I KE TO

R E I T E R A T E A U S T R A L I A ' S C O M M I T M E N T T O A S S I S T I N G

G E N U I N E R E F U G E E S . W E W I L L C O N T I N U E TO P R O V I D E A

S T R O N G R E S E T T L E M E N T P R O G R A M A N D T O S U P P O R T

T H E W O R K OF U N H C R T H R O U G H F I N A N C I A L A N D P O L I C Y

C O N T R I B U T I O N S AS W E L L AS I N I T I A T I V E S S UCH AS T H E

R E G I O N A L C O N F E R E N C E ON R E F U G E E S A N D D I S P L A C E D

P E R S O N ' S . I H O P E T O W E L C O M E A N U M B E R OF Y O U TO

T H I S C O N F E R E N C E I N C A N B E R R A A T T H E END OF N E X T

M O N T H .