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7 September 2015

UNICEF Australia has today called on the Australian Government to consider increasing its humanitarian intake and do all that it can to offer refuge to people fleeing conflict across the Middle East.

An estimated 30 million children are seeking safety right now, including over 4 million registered refugees  from the Syrian conflict.

UNICEF Australia said the Australian Government has an important role to play in saving and protecting the lives of innocent children caught in refugee and migration crises worldwide, and invited the Government to review its current humanitarian intake and absorb more of the mass movement of people desperately seeking safety from ongoing and escalating conflict in Syria and Yemen.

UNICEF Australia has urged the Federal Government to:

  • Increase its humanitarian intake above projected annual forecasts to reflect the extraordinary global emergency circumstances.
  • Act swiftly to assure a fair and reasonable intake commensurate with its global standing ahead of Europe’s impending winter.
  • Prioritise the needs of children and their families in political and practical solutions to ending conflict forcing displacement and upheaval, ensuring that all government agencies put best interests of children first in all decisions made regarding these children

“This need is critical and immediate,” UNICEF Australia Chief Executive Officer Norman Gillespie said. “Children are the most vulnerable in any major emergency, and especially in a crisis of this scale. We can and must act now.”

“Increasing Australia’s humanitarian intake is a life-saving measure for children and families affected by conflict. This is not a responsibility we can let a handful of countries carry, when Australia has the means and capacity to do more. All countries have a responsibility to do all that they can in their response to this global emergency,” he said.