UNICEF Australia: Confirmation of US refugee resettlement welcomed but timely resettlement for all refugees remains urgent

SYDNEY, 1 February 2017 – UNICEF Australia welcomes confirmation by the Australian Government and U.S officials today that resettlement arrangements for refugees from Nauru and Manus Island will proceed.
“Refugees on Nauru and Manus Island have lived with chronic uncertainty for over three years.  Children in particular have been severely impacted by offshore processing, experiencing prolonged distress, violence, family separation and interrupted education. This arrangement creates a permanent pathway for children to grow up healthy, educated and to reach their full potential,” said Amy Lamoin, Head of Policy and Advocacy, UNICEF Australia.
“While there is a legitimate need for health, security and identity checks for refugees on Manus Island and Nauru, the need for timely resettlement remains urgent.  In the event that not all refugees on Manus Island and Nauru are resettled under the U.S Refugee Admissions Program, we encourage the Australian Government to continue their dialogue with appropriate resettlement countries to ensure that each refugee has the best outcome.”
“Both the U.S and Australian Governments have played leading roles in supporting refugees worldwide as donors and resettlement countries.  This support has been life saving for refugee children and their families.  As we approach the sixth year of the Syrian crisis, this ongoing support remains critical,” Ms Lamoin added. 
For 2017, the UNHCR has predicted that the resettlement need for is at 1.19 million refugees, and less than one percent of this figure are likely to be resettled. This is particularly concerning given that over half of all refugees are children.
“The Australian Humanitarian Program has been highly successful, and a leading model worldwide.  It has contributed positively to building diversity, which is a core part of Australia’s identity and genius. UNICEF Australia encourages the Australian Government to consider options for increasing the humanitarian intake over coming years to ensure greater protection of refugee children.”
For further information and interviews, please contact:
Nicole Mackey, UNICEF Australia, 0403 964 334, nmackey@unicef.org.au
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF Australia and its work visit: www.unicef.org.au
Follow UNICEF Australia on Facebook and Twitter