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United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Australia

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M e d i a R e l e a s e

MRS 32/96


The visit by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is an indication of the importance of the organisation's relationship with Australia the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock said today.

The High Commissioner Mrs Sadako Ogata, will arrive in Australia on Sunday 14 July for a four day visit.

"This is the High Commissioner's first official visit to Australia and it is being made in recognition of Australia's longstanding commitment to and support of UNHCR," Mr Ruddock said.

"Australia is pleased to welcome Mrs Ogata and looks forward to continuing its partnership with UNHCR."

"Australia is a major partner for UNHCR in the resettlement of refugees and other people in humanitarian need."

"Since Mrs Ogata was elected High Commissioner in 1990, the agency has taken the leading role in international responses to humanitarian crises. The UNHCR is charged with caring for some 27 million people who are refugees or in refugee-like situations and Mrs Ogata is providing important and dynamic leadership."

In 1995-96 Australia contributed A$13.5 million to UNHCR and supported the UNHCR's response to the situation in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.

Australia also assists the UNHCR through an emergency standby scheme with RedR Australia, which can deliver senior professional engineers to join UNHCR's emergency relief operations within 72 hours.

During her visit to Australia, Mrs Ogata will meet Prime Minister John Howard and hold discussions on refugee issues with Mr Ruddock, as well as meeting the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Downer and senior Government officials.

The High Commissioner will address the National Press Club on Tuesday 16 July on the global refugee outlook.

On Wednesday 17 July, Mrs Ogata will deliver the annual Sir Edward 'Weary' Dunlop A sialink Lecture in Melbourne and assist in launching the joint UNHCR-AUSTCARE corporate fundraising programme, Forum 2000.

The Hon. Philip Ruddock MR Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs

Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600

Telephone: (06) 277 7860 Facsimile: (06) 273 4144


(06) 277 7860 or 0419 278 715