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Australia provides support for the displaced in the Asia Pacific.



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MEDIA RELEASE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS ALEXANDER DOWNER

AA 07 013 7 March 2007

Australia Provides Support for the Displaced in the Asia Pacific

Australia will provide over $14.4 million to help conflict-affected populations in the Asia Pacific.

Australia's International Refugee Fund will support seven new projects that help reduce the adverse impacts of crises in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, East Timor and on the Thai-Burma border.

The Fund will provide over $3.5 million to UNICEF, to upgrade school facilities and teaching in Sri Lanka; supply water, vaccinations and mine education for families in Afghanistan; and provide protection services for vulnerable refugee children on the Thai-Burma border.

A further $7.8 million will be provided to UNHCR, the United Nations' refugee agency, for emergency assistance to displaced populations in Sri Lanka; return, reintegration and protection in Afghanistan; and to fund protection activities in refugee camps on the Thai-Burma border.

We will also provide over $3 million to the International Organization for Migration to support internally displaced people in East Timor.

The International Refugee Fund has provided $74.6 million in assistance since its establishment in 2002.

The Fund operates as part of the humanitarian, emergency and refugee programs of Australia's international aid agency, AusAID, to help improve conditions, alleviate suffering, and maintain the dignity of people displaced by conflict and natural disasters.

Media contacts:

Tony Parkinson (Minister's Office) 02 6277 7500

AusAID (Public Affairs) 0417 680 590