Figures showing another record year for global displacement emphasise the important role Australia can play in helping the world’s most vulnerable, according to one of Australia’s leading refugee settlement experts.

Every minute in 2018, 25 people were forced to flee their homes, according to UNHCR’s Annual Global Trends report, released to mark World Refugee Day today. By the end of the year, 70.8 million people globally were forcibly displaced – representing the highest level since the UN Refugee Agency began 70 years ago and a year-on-year increase of 2.3 million people.

“These sobering figures show how important it is for Australia to accommodate the world’s most vulnerable people through a generous refugee intake in our humanitarian program,” said Violet Roumeliotis, who is the CEO of community organisation and social business Settlement Services International (SSI).

“Earlier this year, our federal government announced plans to freeze Australia’s humanitarian intake, which currently accounts for less than 5% of our annual migration program.

“A community sponsorship program like we see in Canada or the UK would be a great supplement to our current humanitarian program. It’s something that could really make a difference in the lives of people who are forcibly displaced. It would also provide opportunities for everyday Australians to change people’s lives. Australia currently has a similar program, but there are a number of key differences between our model and what is working overseas, which may hinder take up from community.”

Source: Australia-must-step-up--SSI-media-release.pdf