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Minister announces details of 1997-98 humanitarian program



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

j The Hon. Philip Ruddock MP Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Telephone: (06) 277 7860 Facsimile: (06) 273 4144

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MRS 60/97

MINISTER ANNOUNCES DETAILS OF 1997-98 HUMANITARIAN PROGRAM

The Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock, today announced details of the composition of the 12,000 places allocated in 1997-98 for refugees and other displaced persons through the Australian Humanitarian Program.

While the overall size of the program remained the same as in 1996-97, the new allocations reflect the Government's shift in emphasis towards assisting refugees. Refugee places have been increased from 3,335 to 4,000 in 1997-98.

"We have also maintained an allocation of 420 places for those vulnerable women for whom resettlement is the only solution, reflecting the Government's strong commitment to the Woman at Risk Program," Mr Ruddock said.

"As outlined in my statement on the size of the Humanitarian Program, the Middle East and countries of the former Yugoslavia will remain a high priority in regional allocations for Refugee, Special Humanitarian and Special Assistance Category."

"I will be visiting the regions of the former Yugoslavia shortly, and will hold discussions with officials of governments, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and other agencies," Mr Ruddock said.

"Following my return, I will announce the detailed allocations and priorities for these countries."

"I have decided to terminate the Vietnamese Special Assistance Category, which has now achieved its purpose."

The Vietnamese SAC was set up in 1995 primarily to provide a resettlement opportunity for people who were in camps, had been denied refugee status and who returned to Vietnam."

'The termination of this SAC will conclude the humanitarian resettlement of Vietnamese over the past two decades."

24 June 1997

MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Steve Ingram 06 277 7860

See over for details

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1997-98 HUMANITARIAN PROGRAM ALLOCATIONS BY REGION

Refugee Category*___________________________________________________________

Region 1996-97 1997-98

Americas 75 75

Africa 290 350

Middle East 1,460 1,145

Former Yugoslavia 1,425 to be decided

Other 85 **2,430

Total 3,335 ***4,000

‘ for people who meet the UN Convention definition of a refugee and in need of resettlement ** includes places for allocation to former Yugoslavia *** includes 420 Woman at Risk places

Special Humanitarian Program*___________________________________________________

Region 1996-97 1997-98

Americas

Africa 455 * 450

Middle East 923 1,080

Former Yugoslavia 605 to be decided

Other 150 **1,270

Total 2,133 2,800

* for those who have suffered discrimination amounting to gross violation of human rights, with strong links to Australia “ includes places for allocation to former Yugoslavia

Special Assistance Category*___________________

Region 1996-97 1997-98

Former Yugoslavia 2,131 to be decided

Vietnamese 600 300

Sudanese 300 200

Sri Lankan 250 100

Burmese in Thailand 200 100

Ahmadis 50 50

Burmese in Burma 50 Nil

Terminated SACs** 351

Unallocated** 600 ***2,450

Total 4,532 3,200

* for those in situations of discrimination, displacement or hardship, usually with close family in Australia ** East Timorese SAC (subclass 208), Minorities of the former USSR SAC (subclass 210) and the Cambodian SAC (subclass 214). *** includes places for allocation to former Yugoslavia and any excess of 2,000 onshore refugee grants.

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