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Australia for Unhcr newsletter2010


Published on


No. 1/2010
(Published January 2010)
A publication of the Regional Office
for Australia, New Zealand, Papua
New Guinea and the Pacific.
3 Lyons Place,
Lyons ACT 2606
Tel: +61 (0)2 6260 3411
Fax: +61 (0)2 6260 3477
Editors: Ben Farrell and Alex Donato

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  • 1. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Regional Office for Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific No. 1/2010 Refugee Newsletter From the Regional Representative UNHCR/J.Björgvinsson As we look back over events in 2009, we However, in October 2009 two events see a rather mixed report card for refugee sparked a vigorous public debate and the protection in the region. airing of some extreme views that were The two principal factors that drive asylum- unhelpful to our efforts to improve cooperation seekers’ movements towards Australia, New for refugee protection across the region. The Boat arrivals are increasing in many parts Zealand and the broader Pacific region first event was the interception, in Indonesian of the world, including the Horn of Africa are conflict and human insecurity in their waters, of a vessel carrying 255 Sri Lankan where 74,000 people crossed the Gulf of countries and regions of origin and the lack nationals. The second was a rescue at sea, Aden to Yemen in 2009. of any credible opportunities for people to by the Australian Customs Vessel Oceanic find asylum and solutions en route to this Viking, of a group of 78 people also from region. It is no accident that the largest Sri Lanka. At the time of writing, UNHCR is numbers of people coming by boat to working hard to find resettlement solutions Australia are nationals of Afghanistan, Sri for all those formerly aboard the Oceanic Contents Lanka and Iraq and who are for the most Viking. Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation 1 From the Regional Representative 3 2009 legal & protection part – and contrary to speculation that most for those on board the much larger vessel in roundup of these people are economic migrants – Merak Harbour in Indonesia remains of great 4 World Food Day and Rural refugees in need of international protection. concern to UNHCR. Women’s Day The number of people seeking asylum Leaving to one side the often polemic and 5 Refugee protection – arriving by both air and sea – in Australia unfocused public debate about who bears the focus of Fiji workshop between January and October 2009 was responsibility for these particular events and 6 Senior Executives take lead 4,835, an increase on the 3,884 who sought how they are to be solved, UNHCR believes 7 Preparing to respond to protection over the corresponding period that we need to address the deeper and disasters in the Pacific Islands in 2008. In New Zealand, where geography underlying challenges posed to states and 8 Pacific Islanders face the reality makes boat arrivals a rather more remote refugees in the region. of climate change prospect, asylum claims rose from 212 to a In particular, as we look towards 2010 and 9 Settlement services still modest 279 over the same period. beyond, we need to find comprehensive and a vital part of refugee protection UNHCR has always argued that these more collaborative strategies that: 9 Settlement services in Australia: an figures need to be seen in a global 1. Address the root causes of forced overview perspective, given that there are some 42 displacement in coherent and systematic 11 Breaking down barriers to employment million forcibly displaced people worldwide. ways. These must engage a whole suite 12 Housing & homelessness Despite the increases in our region, less than of measures ranging from diplomacy and 14 Strategic settlement framework one per cent of the world’s refugees come to enhanced human security to humanitarian 16 Settlement services seek protection in Oceania. and development aid and which, together, in New Zealand: an overview By contrast, in 2009 some 74,000 people will encourage people to return to their 18 Refugee research crossed from the Horn of Africa to Yemen places and regions of origin as conditions in New Zealand by boat, while Mediterranean nations such of safety permit; 20 Family reunification in New as Greece, Italy and Spain each receive 2. Involve closer cooperation with transit Zealand tens of thousands of boat arrivals each year. and asylum States in order to improve 22 Tracking the health & wellbeing of Meanwhile, almost 300 people tragically lost the physical and legal conditions of refugees in New Zealand their lives over the past two years while trying asylum – what we call the ‘protection’ or 23 Realities of settlement in the to reach the United States by boat from the ‘humanitarian’ space. In particular, we need context of Papua New Guinea Caribbean and South and Central America. to avoid protracted detention and family 25 Edward Kennedy receives the 2009 Nansen Refugee Award Despite the steady increase in asylum- separations and to provide temporary 26 UNHCR encouraged by seekers trying to find protection in Australia rights that allow human dignity and self- US$477.5m during the course of the year, the public sufficiency for those most affected; 27 Half of the world’s refugees now debate around refugee issues remained 3. Provide better ways of cooperating live in cities relatively moderate until October. within a multilateral framework where 28 Mission to Eastern Chad 29 World Refugee Day 2009 30 From the National Association 31 Thanks to our donors 32 UNHCR resources
  • 2. rescue at sea is involved. The events of effect in November. Among the reforms As the leaders of more than 140 states recent months highlight the difficulties under the Act, UNHCR welcomed the recently converged in Copenhagen, the of responding alone or bilaterally introduction of a wider protection category voice of affected Pacific Island States, when a wider system of cooperation that will place on a statutory basis New notably Tuvalu, graphically told the world and collaboration across the region is Zealand’s obligations under the United that this is a problem faced by the region essential. Above all, the responses must Nations Convention against Torture and ‘here and now’ and not in the future. To draw place the humanitarian and protection the United Nations Covenant on Civil and attention to the likely displacement of some needs of the victims themselves at the Political Rights. The single immigration Pacific Island peoples, UNHCR co-hosted heart of actions taken; tribunal structure introduced under the a side event at the Pacific Leaders Forum 4. Provide greater support for States through Act will also provide greater administrative Cairns in August. There, we argued that which people transit to find durable efficiencies provided the level of expertise although mitigation and adaptation might solutions for refugees (and non-refugees) and independence that currently resides help those most affected, contingency in their territories. Protracted and in the Refugee Status Appeal Authority is planning for forced displacement – based on unresolved displacement places a burden maintained. the protection and humanitarian needs of the on host States and acts as a disincentive In the Pacific, we have made good victims themselves – needs to be undertaken for them to provide support. It also progress with our regional capacity-building without delay. causes great human suffering to those strategy that is based on UNHCR’s Ten Land rights lie at the heart of any affected and drives onward movement Point Plan to manage mixed migration. In for those desperate enough to seek the displacement and need to be seriously particular, we are working closely with the help of unscrupulous people smugglers. addressed if workable solutions are to be Pacific Immigration Directors Conference At present, the number of people found. and International Organisation for Migration needing protection through resettlement To date, a victim-centred and protection in the region. We are particularly pleased globally (747,000) vastly outstrips the focus has been largely absent from much with the positive response we have received combined number of places offered by of the discourse on natural disasters. To from Palau, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and, the resettlement countries for UNHCR- address this in the region, UNHCR and the more recently, the Cook Islands following referred refugees (approximately 76,000). Office of the UN High Commissioner for a stakeholder awareness workshop in This imbalance needs to be addressed December. And in October, we had a Human Rights (OHCHR) have agreed to Co- by larger resettlement intakes and more very productive training session in Fiji for Chair a new Pacific Humanitarian Protection significant support to those states hosting senior officials in a number of government Cluster (PHPC). We will report further on this most of the world’s refugees. departments responsible for border control. initiative as it gains momentum. Clearly, much of the onward movement The presence of the Minister for Defence, Despite the many challenges we face of asylum-seekers and refugees to the National Security and Immigration, Ratu Epeli to improve refugee protection, UNHCR is region can be explained by the fact few, Gavidi Ganilau, was most encouraging. always encouraged by the wonderful work if any, long term solutions are available In Papua New Guinea, we have had some done by service providers and refugee in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. success in bringing the arterial road to the communities themselves in their search for Only if conditions of asylum improve in remote East Awin settlement of Papuan self-sufficiency in their new homes. During these other regions – and more effective refugees but the physical terrain and weather UNHCR’s annual consultations with NGOs and prompt solutions found – will the are constant adversaries to progress. The and refugees in both Australia and New downward pressure of onward movement quality of asylum in PNG is mixed and much Zealand in October and November, we to Australia and New Zealand be eased work remains to be done if PNG is to have a heard again the challenges faced by newly- and the dangerous and exploitative self-sufficient and credible asylum system in arrived refugees as they look to integrate practices of people smugglers eliminated. place without the need for UNHCR’s direct through employment, education, housing, UNHCR is convinced that cooperation involvement. and improved health care. We also heard between States to combat people The problem of climate change, and the of the painful separation of families and smuggling, trans-national crime and greater frequency and intensity of natural their struggle for family reunion with loved tougher border control measures will not, of disasters in the Pacific, is of great concern ones left behind in countries or regions of themselves, resolve the underlying problems to UNHCR. The Region consists of island origin. These are real issues that we need of people movement. In our experience, States scattered across a vast geographic to address if the generous resettlement these activities tend to deflect the problem area and Pacific Islands Countries are programmes of both Australia and New elsewhere. It is only by addressing the amongst the most vulnerable states in the Zealand are to be even more successful. humanitarian and human dimension of world to natural disasters. They are highly We hope that the Discussion Paper in forced people movements in the region that exposed to adverse natural events such as this Newsletter will shed light on some of effective solutions can be found. tropical cyclones, volcanic eruptions, tsunami the challenges for refugees in settling into a Despite the political and public focus on and earthquake. In addition, the region is new country – a task made more difficult by the debate around boat arrivals, there have characterized by the vast ocean mass, the prevailing economic conditions in both been a number of lesser-known and positive small and scattered population numbers on countries. developments in other parts of the region. vulnerable small islands and national and In New Zealand, the long-awaited local response capacity that can be quickly Richard Towle changes to the Immigration Act came into overwhelmed by forces of nature. Regional Representative 2 Refugee Newsletter No. 1/2010
  • 3. roundup UNHCR’s Regional Office Canberra made non-refoulement obligations under the numerous submissions and consulted through Parliament in October and with governments and NGOs in most into the protection visa framework. came into force in November, making countries in the region as changes to UNHCR submitted comments to significant changes to the refugee legal and asylum systems were proposed the Senate Legal and Constitutional status determination review process and and implemented. Committee in September. codifying a complementary protection Some significant events and change system, among other changes. are outlined in this roundup. (Citizenship Test Review and Other Australia Parliament in September, codifying the Review of the Legal Aid System during Australia signed the United Nations recommendations of the Citizenship October. Optional Protocol to the Convention Test Review Committee which included Against Torture in May. an exemption from sitting the test for Papua New Guinea persons who have a physical or mental incapacity as a result of having suffered Constitutional Law Reform Commission second and third reports of its Inquiry into torture or trauma outside Australia. Immigration Detention in Australia in May and Human Smuggling in Port Moresby and August respectively. in March, providing a global perspective Migration’s inquiry into the Migration of the interaction between the issues Treatment of People with a Disability. of trafficking in persons and people Vulnerable Persons, which aims to ensure smuggling and the international refugee they are supported during the review & Status Resolution was established protection system. process and recognize and respect the to provide independent advice on the implementation of measures associated inherent dignity of vulnerable persons. Pacific Island Countries with the government’s immigration policy to the ‘45-day rule’, which had operated initiatives, including New Directions in Detention and the national rollout of the technical advice to the Government of to restrict work rights and healthcare Community Status Resolution Service. Samoa in respect of its draft Refugee access for asylum-seekers. The Council, which succeeds the Immigration Detention Advisory Group, establish the process by which refugee first met in October. status may be determined in Samoa to regulator of the migration advice give effect to its obligations under the profession, a role previously undertaken New Zealand by the Migration Institute of Australia. The Immigration Advisers Licensing Act Protocol. 2007 entered into force in May, requiring anyone providing immigration advice to seeks to implement the Government’s be licensed, with the intention to protect New Directions in Detention policy, was migrants (including asylum-seekers and UNHCR submitted comments to the Legal unethical behaviour of unscrupulous and Constitutional Committee in August. immigration advisers. notwithstanding the prior possession of nationality to another country, and released the Plan of Action to Prevent measures to prevent statelessness. abolishes the charges imposed on People Trafficking, a cross-government immigration detainees and waives all strategy to deal with people trafficking provided advice to the Government of existing debts for current and former in New Zealand. The Plan follows the Vanuatu in respect of its draft Immigration detainees, passed the Parliament in preparation of a discussion paper by the September. Interagency Working Group on People status determination process. Trafficking on the proposed approach, development and implementation of a For information or copies of UNHCR was introduced into Parliament in plan of action, and formal submissions by submissions on these issues please visit September, seeking to bring Australia’s relevant stakeholders. or email Refugee Newsletter No. 1/2010 3
  • 4. A traditional welcome to Iowara-East Awin. Iowara the centre of attention on World Food Day and Rural Women’s Day From Walpurga Englbrecht As always, events and activities responsible for the different sectors, as UNHCR PNG Country Representative in Iowara-East Awin also provide well as representatives from UNHCR and The refugee settlement of Iowara-East opportunities to highlight the needs of the Diocese of Daru and Kiunga. Awin became the centre of Western refugees and the wider community to Like any good event in Papua New Province for two days in October, with the government authorities. Guinea, singing, dancing and delicious celebration of World Food Day and World Discussions with representatives from food were central parts of the two-day Rural Women’s Day. district, provincial and national authorities event. The event provided a unique centred around raising awareness of One final issue of great importance to opportunity for refugees and the local issues such as violence against women the community was highlighted as the population to show off a variety of skills and children, child protection and birth visitors drove off down the bumpy dirt and trades to their many visitors, with registration, law and order, agriculture track between Iowara and Barramandi. demonstrations of sago and peanut butter and livestock, and business development. Those visitors, like the community, making, rice milling, traditional weaving, Among the dignitaries present were might have wished that the long-delayed fish net mending, rubber budding, and the Provincial Administrator, Provincial road repairs had been completed before flower arranging. Police, District Administrator and officers the event. 4 Refugee Newsletter No. 1/2010
  • 5. Refugee protection the focus of Fiji workshop Building on Fiji’s long tradition of humane has developed over many years between people fleeing their homes and seeking treatment of asylum-seekers and refugees UNHCR and the FID. international protection and to make sure was the focus of a workshop jointly hosted Minister of Defence, National Security people needing protection were able to by UNHCR and the Fiji Immigration and Immigration, Ratu Epeli Gavidi find it, even in the small Pacific Island Department (FID) in October. Ganilau, said that, as a signatory to the States of this region. The two-day workshop looked at 1951 Refugee Convention, Fiji was keen to Fiji is a leader in the Pacific as a deepening the understanding among play its part in ensuring that those people signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention officials of how to identify and act on who are in need of international refugee and through its adoption of a national the protection needs of people seeking protection receive it. refugee legislation and refugee status international protection, and to provide “Despite Fiji’s isolated location in the determination system. technical advice on the development Pacific, we live in a globalized world where “We encourage it to continue on this of Fiji’s national refugee determination people are very much on the move”, the positive path”, Towle said. system. Minister noted. Through this workshop, UNHCR and UNHCR’s Regional Representative, Mr Towle said the workshop was FID have recommitted themselves to Richard Towle, thanked the Department an opportunity for UNHCR to offer a working in a cooperative way to build on for co-hosting the highly successful global perspective and outline the and strengthen the systems by which Fiji workshop, and said it was evidence of complex factors relating to insecurity upholds its international refugee law and the strong working relationship which and conflict around the world that lead to humanitarian obligations. Participants during the workshop on Fiji’s Coral Coast.
  • 6. Senior Executives take lead: Course on refugee determination in Solomon Islands vi. To understand internally displaced training as much as the operational persons (IDPs): who are they, where are and technical levels. The arming of the they, why are they of concern, their rights, strategic level with appropriate knowledge and who is responsible for their protection; and skills on refugee matters leads to a The course is a step in the implementation more principled, consistent leadership From Barnabas Anga of the work programme agreed to in and management of the RSD framework. Permanent Secretary, Ministry of February 2009. Importantly it also enables Solomon Islands Commerce, Industry, Labour & Capacity building on refugee protection to make lawful decisions at the border. Immigration in the Solomon Islands as with other Pacific Much of the focus at the political level Solomon Islands has signed five of Islands countries essentially includes is influenced by the strategic level advice. the eleven international human rights as a starting point the strengthening of Training of the strategic level on refugee conventions. One of these, the 1951 the decision-making process on refugee matters is in the best interests of Solomon Convention on the Status of Refugees protection as a central part of immigration Islands as a State Party to the Refugee (Refugee Convention) was adopted by functions. For the purpose of refugee Convention. succession on 25 February 1995 and determination the decision-making process It was on the above premise that UNHCR followed by the signing of the 1967 Protocol is divided into four levels, namely: Political developed and conducted the course on the Status of Refugees on 12 April 1995. (Minister/Cabinet); Strategic (Permanent for senior executives in Solomon Islands. In February 2009 UNHCR and the Secretary); Operational (Director of Participants included: the Permanent Government of Solomon Islands (GSI) Immigration); and Technical (Immigration Secretary and Under Secretary (Technical) through its Ministry of Commerce, Processing Officers). responsible for Immigration, Director and Industry, Labour and Immigration (MCILI) As the levels are mutually linked, the Deputy Director of Immigration, Principal co-facilitated a refugee stakeholder level of understanding on refugee matters Legal Officers from the offices of the awareness workshop in Honiara. at one level determines largely the shape Attorney General and the Director of Public of the decision at the next. Existence of Prosecution, and senior officers from the The workshop established basic knowledge gaps can hold back progress Royal Solomon Islands Police Force – key understandings of key provisions of the in implementing the purpose of the persons that the Permanent Secretary, as Refugee Convention, an essential first Convention. It can cause the types of the RSD Officer, is likely to consult with. step for the relevant agencies to progress actions that delay refugee determination The content of the course, while strictly towards implementing the humanitarian decisions or, worse, remove altogether focused on RSD process, also incorporated purpose of the Convention. The GSI with the protection of refugees as required persons of concern that exist or have the its stakeholders put together a process under the Refugee Convention. Further, likelihood of existing in Solomon Islands in to guide its work in the development of a ignorance of the necessary elements of the view of the islands’ vulnerabilities. In this legal framework for refugee protection. Convention’s protection regime can lead respect protection of internally displaced On 20 May 2009, through the to unnecessary discrimination, negative persons and addressing security concerns continuing cooperation of UNHCR and the decisions and refoulement. Solomon without undermining refugee protection MCILI the Senior Executives’ Course on were also covered, two areas of particular Islands is aware of its obligation to the refugee protection was held in Honiara. importance to Solomon Islands. Ensuing various human rights conventions. The course objectives were: The course focused on the strategic discussions drew out clear separation of i. To understand refugee status level, where in the structure of MCILI, the refugee protection and security concerns. determination: its purpose, legal basis Permanent Secretary is likely to be the RSD Clear and deep insights into both areas and process; Officer. The Permanent Secretary needs to put to rest concerns and stereotypes ii. To understand what are ‘fair and be well versed with the Convention as well as arising from national security issues in efficient’ refugee status determination the RSD procedures. An additional important relation to how the Refugee Convention (RSD) procedures; reason for these is that he/she is the principal was hitherto perceived. While examining iii. To understand the key elements of the advisor to the political level. Findings and the circumstances surrounding countries Refugee Convention in determining advice of the operational and technical levels of origin and refugee movement, areas who is a refugee; are submitted to the Permanent Secretary. like mixed migration and sexual and iv. To examine complementary forms of The strategic level is the key point in gender-based violence were focused on as protection; the first part of the refugee determination elements within the key thrust of the course. v. To understand that international law decision-making process but has An important component of the course enables States to address their security hitherto not been included in the training was the RSD role play exercise. The concerns without undermining refugee programme. The important issue though exercise adopted real-life functions and protection; is that this is a critical level and it needs subjected the participants to on-the-job- 6 Refugee Newsletter No. 1/2010
  • 7. situations and on-the-job-requirements, base. There has been no asylum seeker of the Government of Solomon Islands are issues, considerations and decisions. or refugee in Solomon Islands to date. grateful to UNHCR, and Dr Lesi Korovavala The role play exercise was indispensable However, the course was held at an in particular, for having related the RSD as it provided the opportunity to apply opportune time as Solomon Islands was procedures to government and decision- the knowledge acquired in the earlier putting together its draft refugee policy and making structures in Solomon Islands. Their sessions and enabled the confirmation of with the legislation to follow. The course was understanding of the relevant processes and our understanding, confidence in dealing a necessary impetus in Solomon Islands’ having put together and run the course for us with such situations and crystallised our preparation to provide the humanitarian are appreciated. The issues involved are real; understanding of the weight of responsibility space to deal with one of the most many are emotive and culturally sensitive. The in determining life and death situations vulnerable groups of people in the world. manner with which the course was run allowed for those escaping from persecution and Acquiring the knowledge and skills enabled us to address these issues and venture into seeking international protection. the participants and eventually Solomon our cultural space while maintaining focus The knowledge and skills acquired Islands to make alive the Convention and to on the course objectives. As the Permanent through the course have set the foundation build and own the RSD procedures. Secretary of the line Ministry the confidence for the senior executives and these will be The Ministry of Commerce Industry, Labour that the Solomon Islands team gained from the continuously built upon as our knowledge and Immigration and the participants on behalf course is invaluable. Preparing to respond to disasters in the Pacific Islands From UNHCR eCentre Management Organization (NDMO) The workshop featured presentations and the UN Office for the Coordination from experts from both within and The Pacific Islands Emergency and Disaster of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) outside the region, and numerous Management Workshop in May 2009 in organized the first-ever Pacific Islands interactive demonstrations and exercises. Honiara, Solomon Islands was the UNHCR Emergency and Disaster Management In the end, the participants reported eCentre’s first training event in Melanesia. Workshop. The event brought together leaving with a greater understanding of Humanitarian assistance in the a total of 36 emergency responders international standards used in dealing Pacific has proven complex, as the primarily from the Melanesian nations of with emergencies. Equally important, region is prone to a range of disasters Fiji, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands, they parted with a greater familiarity with including cyclones, earthquakes, as well as others from Australia, New tsunamis, flooding, volcano eruptions colleagues facing similar challenges Zealand and Papua New Guinea, with the and landslides. Moreover, the vast Pacific in neighboring countries, and new goal of raising standards and sharing best Ocean mass and the presence of small approaches that can be applied to practices in responding to humanitarian and scattered populations on vulnerable respond more efficiently and effectively emergencies. and remote small islands create daunting when the next crisis occurs. The workshop was designed to improve logistical challenges for responders. The Pacific Islands Emergency and response to emergencies by exploring Large natural events can quickly problems, standards and best practices Disaster Management Workshop was overwhelm local and national capacities in key areas of emergency and disaster organized by the UNHCR eCentre and resources, and even comparatively management. Areas explored in detail in cooperation with the Solomon small-scale of disasters can have huge included protection of the rights of Islands National Disaster Management impacts on the affected people and affected people, emergency assessment, Organization (NDMO) and UNOCHA. countries. food and nutrition, emergency shelter, Further support was provided by partners To confront these challenges, the logistics, water and sanitation, RedR Australia, RedR New Zealand, UNHCR eCentre, in conjunction with coordination in emergencies and coping InterWorks L.L.C., and the UNHCR the Solomon Islands National Disaster with the effects of global climate change. Representation in Canberra, Australia. Refugee Newsletter No. 1/2010 7
  • 8. Pacific Islanders face the reality of climate change The Carteret Islands of Papua New Guinea residents about the relocation process. On Fiji’s largest island, Viti Levu, for are a three-hour boat ride from the much “While appreciating the assistance from example, an innovative coral gardening larger, and higher, island of Bougainville. Bougainville, many residents say they project is under way to help reduce But for the 2,500 islanders, who have lived are worried about losing their culture coastal erosion and sand loss, which are a carefree life of fishing and small-scale and traditions and are uncertain as to considered to be major impacts of sea agriculture, the reality of a changing climate how they will be received by the host level rise. The project is a joint initiative means plans are now under way to make community,” Loughry reports. of the local community, a national NGO the trip to Bougainville a permanent one. Such dilemmas highlight the difficult and a holiday resort and is an example of On the Carterets, like elsewhere in choices faced by island communities under how adaptation strategies can protect the the Pacific, a number of complex and threat from rising seas, with relocation often environment and the economy. interrelated factors – environmental, Meanwhile, Kiribati is looking towards seen as the option of last resort. climatic, geological and demographic the development of skilled migration Although people displaced by climate – are at play, and these are creating programmes that may be able to change and environmental degradation uncertainty about the ability of people to reduce overcrowding in the short term, are not classified as refugees under the remain in their traditional homelands. while developing skills and building up 1951 Refugee Convention, UNHCR’s UNHCR Regional Representative in the communities abroad should larger-scale experience has shown that they are Pacific Richard Towle says the protection resettlement be required in the future. clearly people who face great challenges of people affected by these factors must And to help prepare for the possibility be part of a broader, human rights- and whose rights and protection needs of a rise in the frequency of natural focused response to human security and have to be addressed. disasters, UNHCR has joined with other ensure social and economic development Indeed, many communities reject the agencies to form a Pacific Humanitarian for all people in the region. “climate refugee” label saying it gives a Protection Group to help map and analyse “Most of all, finding solutions to these false sense of hopelessness, preferring the protection needs of people who face challenges means listening, consulting, to focus on adaptation and mitigation risks from the elements. and responding to the specific needs of strategies to help them stay in their These examples show the combination affected populations – whether they be homes. “Many people from Pacific Island of approaches – disaster preparedness, coping mechanisms and adaptation or countries have told us their preference is mitigation and adaptation, and possible eventual relocation,” Towle says. firstly to try to mitigate the worst effects relocation – that will be needed to assist For the Carterets, coastal erosion, of rising sea levels such as depletion of people facing climate and environmental destruction of sea walls and inundation fresh-water supplies, flooding, disease, challenges in the region. For the Carteret by salt water means that most of the small and loss of traditional food sources, Islanders, relocation appears to be the gardens of swamp taro and vegetables livelihoods and housing,” Towle says. only choice left. upon which families depend for food are no longer fertile. Emergency food A sea wall made of wire and clam shells can’t hold back the rising tide on the Carteret Islands. supplies are running low, and relocation ©JRS/M.Loughry increasingly looks like the only option. After several unsuccessful attempts to move the islanders over the past few years, the authorities have identified a plantation on Bougainville as a future resettlement site and anticipate bringing families from the Carterets and other threatened atolls this year. The Papua New Guinea government is also planning continuing services for families and individuals who remain on the atolls and is putting in place a contingency plan in anticipation of future severe climate events. Sister Maryanne Loughry, from the Jesuit Refugee Services Australia, was on the Carterets late last year to talk to 8 Refugee Newsletter No. 1/2010
  • 9. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Regional Office for Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific No. 1/2010 Discussion Paper Settlement services a vital part of refugee protection The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, with the generous showing the various countries of origin of the students. UNHCR RO Canberra Settlement services in Australia: an overview From the Settlement Council of Australia around settlement issues for refugees of Australia (SCOA) received a grant conference for over 180 delegates from from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, in recognition of its role as the the Department of Immigration and settlement service providers in order to map settlement service provision, and to consult on the future role and direction of Feedback from the First the National Council of Migrant Resource and Settlement Agencies (NCMRSA), National Settlement the Refugee Council of Australia, the Conference of settlement service providers. The first national settlement conference In the short time since receiving Councils and the National Multicultural funding, SCOA has achieved a Building a Future for Social Inclusion”. The milestones include:
  • 10. services involves far more than providing information and referral, organisations and workers across the and other Commonwealth agencies, the and linking clients to other services. sector and from all corners of Australia, Australian Social Inclusion Board, Australian whether working as policy makers, Multicultural Advisory Council, Refugee information and referral services practitioners or researchers was indicative Council of Australia, Refugee Resettlement promotes a “tick box” approach, and of the very real interest, commitment and Advisory Council, Australian Human Rights also over simplifies the high level of skill need for the sector to come together, to Commission, and other national peak share their experiences, practice and casework. More emphasis should achievements to date. National Women’s Consultative Council. A be placed upon the development of Over 180 participants registered for copy of the conference report is available “settlement life skills”, based on a client- the conference to listen to presentations, on SCOA’s website. focused, competency-based approach participate in good practice workshops, to adult learning, rather than a “tick box” and most importantly through roundtable Responding to Key approach to information delivery. discussions, to develop strategies and 3. Flexibility is another key element to the Settlement Issues recommendations that will drive the delivery of settlement services across SCOA has produced a number of Australia. There is no “one size fits all” national settlement agenda into the future. papers on key settlement issues, in solution, especially when it comes to As importantly, the current members of response to government discussion finding solutions to complex issues such the SCOA as well as prospective members papers and consultations on issues as housing and health service provision. and allied settlement organisations of importance to SCOA’s member It is important to learn from innovative confirmed their commitment to support organisations. These include: approaches to settlement service delivery, the SCOA’s work as the peak body that will represent the many and varied efforts and explore ways that these models can of settlement services through advice to Australia’s Refugee and Humanitarian be replicated and/or adapted. government, research, information sharing Program; 4. With regard to multiculturalism in and assisting the development of national Australia, we do not believe a minor standards. Many organisations have the Integrated Humanitarian Settlement makeover on current policy without already demonstrated their commitment Strategy (IHSS); program development and resource through application for formal membership. commitment will make much difference. Through roundtable discussions, for Multicultural Youth Programs Based Indeed it will reinforce some of the conference delegates identified a on Best Practice Initiatives; disappointment and cynicism that number of key recommendations. The already has grown in relation to the recommendations from the conference of consultations by the Australian current government. SCOA is happy covered the following themes: Multicultural Advisory Council (AMAC). within our limited resources to contribute Some of the key recommendations to in a continuing way to this process development; come out of these papers include: of stakeholder engagement in the 1. The need for greater recognition and formulation of policy. planning; valuing of the specialism and expertise With the momentum gained over the last upon which effective settlement services few months, SCOA will continue to work to as the most successful pathway to need to be based. Such expertise is built support the development of the settlement independence and integration; upon a variety of experiences, including: services sector, and to take forward the issues which have been identified as multicultural services; priorities by our members. settlement services and allied services. To find out more about the Settlement These recommendations will be prioritised for cultural differences; Council of Australia, or to inquire about and forwarded to relevant stakeholders in membership, visit our website at www.scoa. accordance with SCOA’s key areas of work organisations to develop cultural or email SCOA’s Executive Officer, and resource capabilities, including DIAC competencies; Andrew Cummings at 10 Discussion Paper No. 1/2010
  • 11. Breaking down Barriers to Employment From Catherine Scarth absence of an already established ethnic General Manager, Community community, all shape or exacerbate the and Policy, AMES standard employment barriers faced by The challenges facing refugees are never other migrants (RCOA, 2008). more evident than when they are looking In addition, many refugee job seekers experience institutional discrimination and for a job, with workforce participation racism on arrival (VMCC & VEOHR 2008). rates significantly lower for newly arrived Discriminatory practices impact on refugees and migrants than for many other employment opportunities for these groups in Australians. The Department of Immigration and underemployment and lack of recognition Citizenship (DIAC) Longitudinal Survey of and Immigrants to Australia (2007) showed that 75% of humanitarian entrants (HE) and experiences (Brotherhood of St Laurence refugees were unemployed 4-5 months after arrival and only 16% were participating Typically these barriers to employment are behaviours of small and medium enterprises in the labour force. By 16-17 months after collapsed to: “lack of English, lack of local arrival, 43% of HE were still unemployed and work experience and lack of qualifications”. In 2006, the Victorian Employers only 32% were participating in the labour AMES experience and research show that Chamber of Commerce and Industry force. This low workforce participation rate the barriers are more specific, subtler within a (VECCI) found that employers with a skill contributes to significant individual distress number of identified areas, inter-connected, shortage had not considered the possibility and impacts on social cohesion. and involve a number of affective (or of recruiting a skilled migrant or refugee. Via Commonwealth Government personal) factors as well as external factors. The VECCI survey indicated that many settlement programs including the Integrated While in some respects refugees, skilled arrivals are taking up jobs in un- Humanitarian Settlement Strategy (IHSS) skilled and unskilled, share similar skilled and semi-skilled occupations such and the Adult Migrant English Program experiences of engaging with the labour as aged care, sales and taxi driving. (AMEP), AMES works with recently arrived market to other migrants, their migration Other studies also show these migrants refugees in Victoria from a wide variety of experience is very different. suffer substantial occupational downward work backgrounds ranging from skilled Pre- and post-arrival experiences set mobility and loss of occupational status, professionals and trades people to those them apart. The effects of torture and even many years after arrival (Colic-Peisker with limited work skills relevant to the & Tilbury, 2007). Many refugees are at risk Australian labour market. industrialised society after long periods in of becoming an underclass of workers in Research undertaken in Victoria in 2008 Australia – median incomes for migrants identified a number of barriers facing domestic responsibilities for family members from Sudan, Iraq and Afghanistan, for refugees attempting to enter the labour who themselves are trying to cope with instance is between $228 and $234 per market in Australia. These include: week as opposed to $488 for Australian-born Reproduced with permission from AMES (c)2009.
  • 12. Housing & homelessness residents and $431 for the whole Australian vacancies to refugees; particularly through From the Asylum Seeker population (DIAC 2007). an ILM program that enables them an Resource Centre AMES experience is that a ‘one size fits opportunity to test a refugee job seeker’s Housing and homelessness are amongst all’ approach to employment assistance is capacity before proceeding to a longer-term the greatest challenges facing asylum neither appropriate nor adequate for most contract. refugees. People with complex settlement seekers in Australia. Asylum seekers who With incentives, such as liaison staff who needs require settlement support that is speak the first language of the worker and have applied for protection can live for individualised and integrated with labour assist with work training, employers concerns years in the community without stable market participation – and as soon after about potential risks are alleviated and a accommodation and without access to arrival as practicable. good match between business requirements any mainstream housing services. For example, the AMES Intermediate and individual skills can be achieved. Homelessness is a challenge not Labour Market (ILM) Program, one of AMES AMES research shows that where there is only for asylum seekers but for many Transition to Work strategies, enables a good match, work experience may lead to Australian citizens and permanent refugees to secure their first job in Australia, ongoing employment. residents, with the Australian Bureau to learn about Australian workplace culture, A recent business roundtable of of Statistics reporting over 105,000 and to gain local work experience in a time- employers participating in such programs homeless people in Australia each night. limited and real job. Hopefully, this leads to noted that there had been ‘sensational’ Australia wide, there are a number of permanent employment in the mainstream outcomes for the business and participants not-for-profit support agencies who work labour market. with ‘performance levels on a par or better with asylum seekers to address their Through this coordinated program refugee than peers’. basic welfare needs. Collectively, not- job seekers benefit from: There was agreement that the risk of hiring for-profit services meet the legal, health, a refugee was not less or greater than hiring social and basic welfare needs of asylum methods and practical application of this anyone else. in relation to specific opportunities; seekers, but all of this well-integrated Promoting the values and unexpected support comes undone when an asylum benefits of refugee employment will begin workplace behaviours and communication seeker has no place to live. For all of breaking down the perceptions and barriers in situ and receive constructive feedback these services, access to appropriate that employers fear when confronted with a on performance; housing is the missing link. refugee job seeker. During the refugee determination The resulting employment will lower the placements and securing a job (i.e. the process, people seeking asylum are hurdles the refugee must jump before feeling opportunity to demonstrate skills to a arguably the most marginalized of all they are settling properly into their new home. prospective employer led to subsequent groups of homeless people. This is due It will ensure that Australia continues employment); and largely to the fact that they are denied to benefit socially and economically from the contribution of people from refugee access to public housing and Centrelink and managing the transition into sustained and have no safety net to ensure ongoing backgrounds. employment. income to pay rent. In addition, current At the same time, AMES has worked to shift References housing policy renders asylum seekers understanding by employers of the special Brotherhood St Laurence 2008 Social Inclusion: Economic Imperative Migration Action Issue 1, May 2008 ineligible for many mainstream services needs and particular benefits that refugee Department of Immigration and Citizenship (2007) New leaving them reliant on the support of employment can offer. Migrant Outcomes: Results from the Third Longitudinal Employers need to consider the manner Survey of Immigrants to Australia. AGPS, Canberra charities to avoid homelessness whilst Constable, J, Wagner R, Childs M, & Natolia A, (2000) and method of attracting job seekers. Doctors Become Taxidrivers: Recognising Skills – not awaiting an outcome of their protection This extends from where jobs are as easy as it sounds, Office of Employment Equity and claim. Diversity, Premier’s Department of NSW, 2000 advertised through to the types of questions McDonald, B., Gifford, S., Webster, K., Wiseman, J. asked in interview situations to elicit the and Casey, S., 2008. Refugee Resettlement in Regional Key housing issues faced and Rural Victoria: Impacts and Policy Issues. Report appropriateness of the candidate. Upskilling commissioned by Victorian Health Promotion Foundation, by asylum seekers of managers to mentor employees and the Carlton North. Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) (2008) Submission The process of seeking asylum is neither positive contribution that new cultures can to the Australian Government on the 2008-09 Refugee and instantaneous nor a permanent state. It bring to the workplace are additional benefits Humanitarian Program, February 2008 Val Colic-Peisker and Farida Tilbury (2007) Refugees is transitional and asylum seekers need delivered through refugee employment and Employment: The Effect of Visible Difference on transitional housing during this time. recognised by ILM employer participants. Discrimination. Final Report. Murdoch University, Western Australia When approached many employers Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce (VECCI) are willing to offer work placements and Skills Survey 2006 12 Discussion Paper No. 1/2010
  • 13. Key issues faced by asylum seekers needing emergency and transitional recently responded to asylum seekers accommodation include: Asylum seekers’ agencies for emergency and transitional homelessness needs to accommodation; be included in a national response adequate emergency and transitional accommodation response; The impact of homelessness on accommodation options; settlement of on-shore refugees accommodation is allocated predominantly including asylum seekers. guidelines do not disqualify asylum seekers from accessing emergency accommodation, ‘The Road Home’ destitution and uncertainty for a prolonged accommodation for all in need by 2020 not true. ‘The Road Home’ is a recurrent funding to assist asylum seekers “There should be no wrong doors for people who are homeless when they seek help”. once being granted permanent residency Once granted a permanent protection and transitional accommodation. is not suitable or sustainable for ongoing tenancy. Currently asylum seekers are programs. Discussion Paper No. 1/2010 13
  • 14. Strategic Settlement Framework Laying stronger foundations to make us a world leader in settlement sustainable settlement outcomes. By services. this I mean working with the client to This year, our Government undertook identify their strengths and providing the to consult extensively with the sector necessary tools to advance them along as a basis for forming the new model of their settlement pathway. settlement services. The public response The Minister and I are looking to set was inspiring. out a new settlement framework – to In total we held 17 community provide a continuum from offshore to and Government consultations and onshore to deliver long term sustainable 11 focus groups with refugees. 460 settlement outcomes. This continuum individuals representing 210 community covers the broad range of settlement organisations and more than 80 services delivered by the Department Government agencies participated and of Immigration and Citizenship shared their views. Most importantly we including our offshore Australian met with 195 refugees from 18 different Cultural Orientation (AUSCO), IHSS, nationalities. the Settlement Grants Program, Adult As Australia’s Parliamentary Secretary Migrant English Program, Complex Case for Multicultural Affairs, I meet regularly Support and interpreting services. with refugee groups – Sudanese, Somali, We must ensure these programs work Hazara, Sierra Leonean, and Burmese. cooperatively to support our clients However, it is a different experience to on their pathway to independence. From the Hon sit and listen to their accounts of going The pathway for clients between these Laurie Ferguson MP through the services we provide. programs needs to be as seamless as Parliamentary Secretary for The consultations confirmed that possible. Multicultural Affairs & Settlement the fundamentals of the Integrated The framework will lay the foundations Services Humanitarian Settlement Strategy for an integrated service delivery The promise of protection only begins (IHSS) program (the core services) are network that will support new arrivals to with a refugee visa. Disembarking at a still relevant and appropriate. In fact rebuild their lives in Australia. crowded airport, often with no English, these are a front on which we are an At the crucial centre of the new no understanding of the world you have acknowledged world leader. settlement framework are our clients. entered, and no idea where you are to However the consultations also We must not lose sight of this and must be taken, is both a point of desperation revealed gaps and issues around develop programs that are client- and an act of trust. Leaving everything isolation, lack of youth engagement, centred and achieve real and practical problems accessing housing, outcomes. that is familiar would send fear and employment and training and some It is a matter of working with clients trepidation through most of us. weaknesses in cultural orientation. to build their capacity to deal with the Protection should mean security and In certain instances clients spoke of many barriers they will face along the safety; it should also mean a chance ‘tick and flick’ services, feeling as though way, and equally it is about identifying to build a new life. Refugees have they were not provided with enough their individual strengths and capacity to remarkable resilience and a great tangible assistance or support beyond contribute. willingness to contribute. Settlement the first few weeks. As you are all aware, since the last services are our commitment to provide On a national level, IHSS does a good tender of IHSS services, the complexity a means – a path – to achieve full job in meeting the immediate needs of the caseload has increased. We participation and to help them begin of refugees through services such as now receive many entrants who have their new life. airport pickups, household goods, lived in refugee camps for several Australia’s refugee program is an health checks, Centrelink and school years and children who may not have expression of humility and compassion; enrolment. known any other life. Many entrants it is about a fair go. However, settlement is as much a have no or low literacy in their own Organisations and dedicated mental and emotional re-alignment as language and no English skills. This is individuals that form Australia’s it is a physical relocation. We are less a result of no or interrupted education. settlement sector have worked tirelessly successful when it comes to creating Equally, a significant portion have had 14 Discussion Paper No. 1/2010
  • 15. limited opportunities for employment intensity of support provided. We are almost 70 per cent of the current intake experience. Many arrive with health exploring options for innovative housing being under 30 years of age (and this needs and have experienced torture and solutions – including group housing trend likely to continue), we need to trauma. and other community housing models. ensure the needs of young people are For select clients, initial group housing not forgotten. So what does the future allows for services to be concentrated To that end there will be a stronger hold for settlement and structured around their needs. focus on youth – with greater Vulnerable clients will benefit from support? increased contact time, intensive case consideration of the individual needs of our young refugees. The program The first step in building a management, comprehensive cultural will provide entrants with more effective new settlement framework is the orientation, group based learning and redevelopment of the initial settlement links to other settlement and community collective support structures. For clients services model, currently known as the programs and stronger connections who may face issues of isolation it will IHSS. with community supports such as ethnic create opportunities to form friendships We will provide entrants with greater organisations, and recreation and social and links which are the basis of a new life. hands-on support and guidance groups. However, group housing will not to navigate Australian systems, to A number of clients reported to me work in all places or for all clients. For understand Australian culture and to during consultations that they were many clients, settling directly into a new give them every chance to make it in community and locality and connecting not introduced to their local ethnic Australia. We will be more responsive to to local facilities through hub-style community and only became acquainted client needs. services will deliver the best settlement by chance meetings with people from We will strengthen the flexible client- outcomes. their home country in the streets or centred approach to case management Accommodation should be about a shops. Connections with ethnic and that we currently have – working directly flexible approach based on the needs of cultural groups soon after arrival can with clients, tapping into their strengths, the client. often combat feelings of loneliness and building on them, and developing their Consultations have confirmed our isolation. I see this as an important capacity in other areas. Emphasis views that structured onshore cultural function of an initial settlement program. will be placed on tailoring case orientation is lacking under the current We must remember that an initial management to individual needs. program. Resounding support was settlement program such as IHSS During a client focus group in Brisbane received from those clients we met can only do so much. In outlining the one client told us that he had been a bus for the introduction of an onshore new directions, I am not talking about driver for more than 20 years in his home orientation program that reinforces guaranteeing that on exit from this country of Burundi. He said he would and builds on the messages delivered program every client will be successfully love to work as a bus driver but he did through AUSCO. Many clients settled – because realistically speaking not know how to get a licence or how to commented that AUSCO gave them settlement is a lifelong process. get Australian workplace experience – some good basic information but they What we are looking at is a program experience that would mean Australian often found it difficult to contextualise built around sustainable settlement bus companies would hire him. This and absorb. outcomes, strength based case story too often resonated throughout The purpose of delivering an onshore management, competency based the consultations, with clients stuck in a cultural orientation program is to transitions and client focused service. vortex of ‘no Australian experience – no equip entrants with information and We recognise that not all refugees start Australian jobs’. knowledge to assist them become from the same point and not all entrants Along with English proficiency, lawful and participating members of our and participation in community life, settle at the same pace. To this end, the community. Such a program will present employment is a key settlement marker. information about Australian social and new initial settlement program will be Effective case management is about cultural norms, law and order, finance client-centred, flexible and adaptable. working with clients to identify their and budgeting, tenancy issues, health Adaptation of speech delivered 25 September 2009 path to meaningful and appropriate literacy and much more. in Brisbane. The contents of this article is not to be employment. Emphasis will be on skill development taken as documentation relating to the IHSS request for tender. Tenders must rely on information in the official Part of a client-centred approach lies and competency-based learning rather tender documents. Please check AusTender for further also in the capacity to be flexible in the than time-based service delivery. With information. Discussion Paper No. 1/2010 15
  • 16. Settlement services in New Zealand: an overview From Refugee Services that there is delight in finding the world progress of refugees after ten years of Aotearoa New Zealand on our doorstep, and many involve settlement, based on indicators of good themselves in refugee resettlement. More integration. This principle is also implicit The present strength of the refugee recently the support of the receiving in a strengthening of the concept of resettlement programme in New Zealand community has been further enhanced individualised settlement planning which has evolved over the last thirty years by regional responses to involve will be led by Refugee Services, across and is built on a national structure that the ‘tangata whenua’, or indigenous major settlement themes and indicators is unique internationally. All refugees population, in ceremonies of welcome for of integration. arrive at the Mangere Refugee Reception refugee groups on arrival from Mangere Various NGOs and refugee Centre in Auckland, where they receive into the permanent settlement location. communities themselves are involved six weeks of multi-agency assessment, Refugee support programmes guide in local examples of community ESOL and orientation support, followed towards integration, and a high level of development which bear testimony by placement and case management by achievement of independent functioning to thriving and developing refugee a national resettlement NGO, Refugee is achieved after the first year from those communities – income generation Services, into six locations across New who have not been highly traumatised. sewing projects, gardening projects Zealand. The numbers of young former refugees to encourage the growth of local In the next stage of initial settlement who are emerging from tertiary education produce for economy and health, in the community, intensive support is is being tracked by some ethnic swimming projects, soccer teams provided to each family through Refugee communities, and numbers of graduates becoming integrated into local soccer Service’s caseworkers, social workers, increase every year. clubs, culturally appropriate womens’ cross-cultural workers and volunteers, so As the refugee sector has become community ESOL classes at which that sustainable connections are made to their babies are welcome – the list is more cohesive in recent years, respectful local communities for housing, schools, relationships have been built between constantly growing, and emerges from medical care and local services. all players, based on a national engagement between refugee ethnic New Zealand society has become settlement strategy led by government, groups and local funding. more culturally diverse in the last decade and developing regional strategies. Specific challenges still need to be and ethnic and language differences However a national refugee policy is still addressed. In the wake of the global are no longer such a novelty. This to be developed. This would provide a recession, how do resettlement agencies has produced a more mature and more robust framework within which to manage their budget costs effectively? understanding receiving community, develop engagement and partnership One way this is being dealt with is to which on the whole is positive and between government, NGOs and refugee strengthen partnerships within the sector. welcoming of refugees. This change communities. Work needs to be done to identify the has been underpinned by government What has already emerged is a specific costs of various levels of support policy on diversity, so that integration strengthened information flow with needs, and to ensure that there is a is encouraged and supported. Local settlement planning across all agencies, match to the provider of services – in festivals of celebration provide the and communication in post-Mangere health, social support or education. opportunity for a wider cross section reports to the resettlement agencies, Some direct funding cuts have affected of New Zealand society to enjoy the including NGOs and government refugee entitlement to study support, richness of food, dance and story departments. especially the cessation of the Refugee telling brought by former refugees, The most recent addition to the Study Grants. Refugees are also affected and give refugees an opportunity to refugee sector has been a national indirectly as a small minority group, proudly display their culture as part of refugee network developed by former by the impact of policy cuts – cuts in the increasing ethnic diversity of New refugees themselves – the articulation of community education which reduces Zealand communities. the refugee voice in advocacy and policy funding for certain refugee specific The strong culture of support from making. benefits, more pressure on state housing local communities has been captured A significant research programme from the wider community, and fewer and formalised in a volunteer programme is being conducted by Immigration employment opportunities. managed by Refugee Services. New Zealand, the major government Like all resettlement countries, New Motivation for becoming involved in a department managing the resettlement Zealand experiences limited family volunteer support group is wide ranging, programme, known as “Ten Years On’. reunion opportunities and this is but New Zealanders’ love of travel means The research aims to measure the recognised as one the most significant 16 Discussion Paper No. 1/2010
  • 17. stressors for refugees. Although it is one – a telephone link (often to Australia) is consequent difficulty in providing of the key components to facilitate good is useful, but face to face interpreting interpreting support or a stable emerging settlement, requests for family reunion of requires capacity development. community. extended family members far outstrips New Zealand has a long history of In spite of these stresses, New the mechanisms for applications within responsiveness to UNHCR requests for Zealand has a well connected refugee the Refugee Family Support Category, of the acceptance of emergency, vulnerable sector, committed to finding capacity 300 places per annum. or high needs cases. However this can Interpreting requirements from result in groups where the numbers solutions and ensuring that the refugee communities also outstrips the capacity are too small to appoint ethnic staff programme remains well accepted at the of government agencies to provide them from their own communities, and there heart of our increasingly diverse society. An early example of refugee resettlement circa 1950s. After years in a German camp, one family prepares to start life afresh in New Zealand.
  • 18. Refugee research in New Zealand From IMSED Research During 2008 the New Zealand government launched a new phase of research with refugees. The IMSED Research team within the Department of Labour has begun two new studies to build on the 2004 research project, Refugee Voices: A journey towards resettlement. A new three year project, Quota Refugees Ten Years On: Perspectives on Integration, Community and Identity, is designed to understand the long-term settlement experiences of former refugees in New Zealand. A smaller but unique prospective cohort study called Bhutanese Refugee Resettlement Needs, Expectations and Experiences studies short term settlement issues and outcomes by talking to refugees before and again twice after their arrival in New Zealand. These studies continue to build on the earlier Refugee Voices, which was Busy markets and life in camp conditions. the first large-scale study to look at refugee resettlement in New Zealand. The methodology was highly participative yet complex processes of integration, approach the unprecedented changes included in total almost 400 refugees – community capacity building and identity of resettlement to a new and radically including recently arrived refugees and construction were unstudied. The current different society. We have also heard their those who had lived in New Zealand for research programme addresses both views on the experience of the orientation approximately five years. This study gave these issues. programme that is provided for the first former refugees a voice by collating their The study Bhutanese Refugee 6 weeks of their time after arrival. These views, experiences and expectations in a Resettlement Needs, Expectations findings and future analyses will help broad range of areas – ranging from their and Experiences is an internationally provide a sound base for New Zealand’s backgrounds and expectations of New unique prospective cohort study of selection and orientation preparations Zealand, through to their experiences of refugees before final selection and after for its refugee quota programme, and to finding housing, getting support, learning resettlement in a third country. A small refine its supports for quota refugees after English and settling into New Zealand group of 33 men and women of various resettlement. life more generally. Much was learned ages and educational levels who have The three year study Quota Refugees about adaptation and settlement service undergone long term confinement in Ten Years On: Perspectives on Integration, provision. The research highlighted both refugee camps in Nepal are taking part in Community and Identity addresses the positive and negative experiences and the study. complex issues of longer term settlement. fed into a number of government and They were interviewed in Nepal about Internationally in recent years, there has NGO initiatives aimed at improving the what they knew and expected of life in been a widespread focus on the concept resettlement journey in New Zealand. New Zealand, have been followed up of integration in migration research However, two issues remained at the end of their six week orientation generally and to a limited extent in recent little understood. On the one hand, programme in New Zealand, and will studies of refugees. However, the concept we understood little about refugees’ again be contacted 18 months after their of ‘integration’ is complex and much expectations immediately before arrival from Nepal. At this point we have debated with disagreement about what resettlement and their immediate begun to understand how and what constitutes integration and how best to resettlement needs and experiences. refugees learn of a third country before measure successful integration. While On the other hand, the long term selection for resettlement and how they the complexities and disagreements 18 Discussion Paper No. 1/2010
  • 19. able to choose the language they would Women continue the industrious practising like to conduct the interview in. This same of traditional crafts. approach is now being used for the main study that went into the field in December about the concept of ‘integration’ are so that a wider range of people can have To take into account the different acknowledged, the Quota Refugees Ten input into the study. needs and contexts of these people, Years On study accepts the definition of interviewers have been drawn from the Atfield et al.1 research approach. The main data main centres of refugee resettlement in New Zealand and are speakers of involves adjustment and participation New Zealand through the Refugee Quota the main languages of our research on the part of the host society as well as the newcomer; Programme between 1993 and 1999. and Ethiopia made up 80% of all refugee supervision. A number of the interviewers integration may be fractured and Quota arrivals in New Zealand but other are from refugee backgrounds themselves integration experiences in one area can nationalities will also be included in the and have therefore been able to bring sit alongside continued exclusion in other areas; personal experience of resettlement to developed through an extensive review of the study. Furthermore, the hiring, training the literature and through interviews and perceptions are central to the process and supervision of interviewers from the focus groups with former refugees, to gain of integration, and therefore it is refugee communities is intended to build their perspectives on the areas to include. important to explore refugees’ own community expertise and capacity. experiences of the integration process. The research studies currently The Quota Refugees Ten Years On underway are designed as research with, research programme draws on a number rather than merely about, refugees. Not of models of integration. One key focus we explored how best to empower only will the methodologies contribute of the study is to examine the dynamic participants to make a supported and to capacity building among refugee informed decision about taking part various domains of integration, such as communities, but the analyses will provide in the study. As part of this, research health, employment, social networks, and participants were able to select which a strong evidence base for New Zealand discrimination, which are little understood. interviewer they wanted to work with, and to improve its settlement services for These analyses will help identify factors were provided with choices in terms of refugees both offshore and onshore that act as barriers or facilitators to age, gender, nationality and language. We successful integration. also translated the information sheets and and delivery arms of government refugee The Quota Refugees Ten Years On consent forms into the four most common services. Because the study designs study adopts the participative approach allow prospective and retrospective of the 2004 study Refugee Voices to and Amharic) and participants were also study of the mechanisms of both short ensure the research meets the needs of term and long term outcomes, the results refugee communities in New Zealand. A key to gaining input from a wide range Zealand policy, but the research will also of communities and organisations has benchmark New Zealand internationally been the establishment of an advisory as a contributor to issues of academic group, which includes former refugees, NGOs and government agencies working debate and significance. in the refugee sector. This group has shaped both the research objectives and Research at methods of the programme. On top of this we have also set up a reference group of The Quota Refugees Ten Years On Refugees’ Experiences of Integration interested individuals and organisations, advisory group. University of Birmingham and the Refugee Council Discussion Paper No. 1/2010 19
  • 20. Family reunification in New Zealand From ChangeMakers These four NGOs are: family reunification in New Zealand, Refugee Forum Wellington Refugees As Survivors and expressed the hope that the Trust is the mental health service Government accepts this statement as Rahma is an elderly Somali woman who a foundation for future discussions on for refugees suffering from torture came to New Zealand in 1999 under refugee family reunification: and trauma. Professional clinical and the UNHCR refugee quota programme. community staff deal on a daily basis “The family is the cornerstone of Rahma was forced to flee Somalia with refugees in need of support society. A healthy society must value, in 1988 after most of her family were and help to deal with responses to support and protect families – while killed, and she lived in Hartisheik, a resettlement which includes unresolved recognising that the concept of “family” refugee camp in Ethiopia for 11 years, past trauma, separation from their family can have different meanings in different members, and general resettlement contexts and cultures. caring for her orphaned nephews challenges. The forced separation of family and nieces. After her arrival in New The Wellington Community Law members undermines the integrity of the Zealand, and despite poor health, Centre has provided free legal advice family unit. It can have serious individual Rahma spent every day fighting to since 1997 to refugees seeking to and social consequences – especially bring her three surviving nephews and be reunited with family members. where separation involves children. a niece, whom she considers to be her Approximately ten refugees visit the Refugees who come to New Zealand, children, to join her in New Zealand. In Law Centre each week seeking advice whether as part of our commitment 2008, nearly ten years after Rahma’s on family reunification, and more than to our international obligations or arrival in New Zealand, they were finally 140 immigration cases (mainly related through other avenues, typically suffer reunited in Wellington. to family reunification) are dealt with by family separation – often in extreme volunteers and staff at any one time. circumstances. As a consequence, Without a team of professionals to The Refugee Family Reunification they often struggle to fully integrate, help Rahma, this family reunion may Trust is a private charity providing participate in, and contribute to, their never have happened. A psychologist financial assistance to former refugees new communities. and a volunteer lawyer met with living in Wellington who need help with Our aim is to assist refugees who have Rahma frequently over nearly five the costs (mainly airfares) associated settled in New Zealand to reunite with years, supporting her through her with bringing qualifying family members their families. This includes promoting anguish over such a long separation to join them. Over the past eight years, immigration policy and procedures which from her loved ones, and helping with the Trust has helped reunite more than recognise and accommodate the basic the complex immigration process. A 125 refugee families, including Rahma’s human need and right of former refugees family. to be with family.” Wellington-based charitable trust paid for the application fees and medicals ChangeMakers Refugee Forum The four NGOs work with refugees Inc is a pan-refugee development on a daily basis, and recognise that required by Immigration New Zealand, agency representing the interests of 13 reunification with family members is and then for the airfares to bring these refugee communities in the Wellington a key part of the successful refugee four young adults from Ethiopia to New region. One of its key roles is to work resettlement process. Preoccupation Zealand. with government and non-government with the predicament of family members This team approach by professionals agencies to ensure that the issues left behind in difficult circumstances, working with refugees in Wellington relating to refugee resettlement are and the time and energy committed to has significantly improved the chances effectively addressed. seeking reunification, can be substantial of refugee families being reunited. It As a first step, these four NGOs barriers to resettlement. Concern for was also the catalyst for four NGOs in worked together to prepare a family overseas often impacts negatively discussion document titled Refugee on mental and physical health, and Wellington, with extensive experience Family Reunification in Wellington. compromises the person’s ability to in refugee family reunification, joining The following is a summary of the key focus on language development, forces to seek to improve existing recommendations and suggestions. education, and employment. Wellington family reunification policies and The four NGOs first put forward the Refugees as Survivors Trust has practices. following position statement for refugee found that its clients’ well-being and 20 Discussion Paper No. 1/2010
  • 21. assimilation into their new country recommended to address refugee family improves markedly once they are reunification needs where no other reunited with family. In fact, most clients policy is applicable. no longer required their services once is realistic (currently there is a two or The discussion document also the family is back together again. three year wait for selection, and a comments in some depth on operational One of the major problems further two or three years to complete issues within Immigration New identified is that New Zealand family Zealand which seriously impact on reunification policy narrowly defines the processing of applications from “family”, and takes no account of wider members of refugees entitled to enter refugees seeking to be reunited with understandings of “family” from other New Zealand under this category family members. It is recommended that cultures, nor of the obligations and each year is met. a number of processes and procedures emotional bonds created through the Other key policy recommendations within Immigration New Zealand be consequences of war and displacement. include the making of more strategic urgently reviewed to improve standards, This means that where there is an decisions about the composition of the efficiency and customer service, within interdependent family group, such UNHCR refugee quota programme, an overall context of understanding the as a parent with an adult child and particularly the family reunion component, special needs of refugees. grandchildren, or two widowed sisters to assist with cases where family Finally, a lack of consistently living together raising their children, only separation is a significant and persistent available resettlement support services some family members may be eligible barrier to effective resettlement. To for refugees arriving under different to come to New Zealand. As a result, help address the current backlog of programmes is identified, and it is further fragmentation of the family can applications under the Refugee Family recommended that all refugees should occur, leaving some members behind Support Category, the discussion be entitled to a re-establishment grant, in an even more vulnerable position. A document suggests that one year’s 750 clear benefit entitlements, access to wider definition of “family” has therefore places under the UNHCR refugee quota a social worker, housing assistance, been recommended. programme be applied solely to family student allowances and English classes. The discussion document highlights reunification. One of the main recommendations flaws in existing policies applicable to The discussion document notes of the discussion document is the refugees, and in particular in relation to that under current policy some former establishment of a working group the Refugee Family Support Category, refugees simply have no avenues (including representatives from and recommends that an urgent review available to enable them to be reunited refugee communities, NGOs and the be undertaken to ensure that: with their families. The implementation government) to address the issues and of a genuine humanitarian programme is concerns raised, and to report back to the Minister of Immigration. The purpose of the discussion UNHCR/B.Szandelszky document, Refugee Family Reunification in Wellington, is to help to identify, and to offer solutions to, major barriers to successful refugee family reunification in New Zealand. It is intended to provide a basis for ongoing discussion. The document has been sent to New Zealand’s Minister of Immigration, Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman. It has also been sent to Richard Towle, Regional Representative, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific. It is available online at http://www.crf. Discussion Paper No. 1/2010 21
  • 22. Tracking the health & wellbeing of refugees in New Zealand From UNHCR Canberra Reading through the case files of the 750 refugees New Zealand takes in each year under its quota system is a stark reminder of man’s inhumanity to man, according to Auckland University of Technology (AUT) Centre for Refugee Education manager Maria Hayward. “The stories contain details of such huge losses and tragedy; they make you cry every time,” she says. While the extreme circumstances from which refugees have escaped leave an indelible mark on their lives, the settlement services available once they reach New Zealand are also vital in shaping their future in their new country. In November 2009 AUT and the Refugee Council of New Zealand hosted the Looking Back & Moving Forward – Refugee Health and Wellbeing Conference to explore the last 20 years of refugee resettlement and look at issues likely to impact on refugee Keynote speakers and organizers of the Conference (left to right): occupational therapy resettlement in the future. lecturer Shoba Nayar, Refugees as Survivors Chair Gary Poole, Eileen Pittaway, Richard Keynote speakers at the event Towle, Adam Awad, Refugee Council President Nagalingham Rasalingham, AUT Pro Vice Chancellor Max Abbott, AUT Chancellor Paul Reeves, and Maria Hayward. included Minister of Immigration Dr Jonathon Coleman, UNHCR Regional Representative Richard Towle, Director demand, it is vital that those most acutely witnessed significant changes in the past of the University of NSW Centre for in need are offered those resettlement 20 years, for instance the broadening of Refugee Research Eileen Pittaway, and places,” Towle said. the ethnicities coming to New Zealand Changemakers Refugee Forum Executive Ms Hayward’s presentation on “a under the quota programme. Chair Adam Awad. refugee-centred approach to resettlement “The demographic make-up of refugees Mr Towle presented UNHCR’s global education: power sharing, inclusivity and has changed dramatically. In the early perspective, noting that the total global critical analysis” was a chance to look at years there might have been three resettlement capacity for UNHCR-referred policy and practice but also to look at the different ethnicities in a group, now we refugees is currently around 76,000 human face of refugees in New Zealand often have as many as 12 and we need to places – around a tenth of the current and address misconceptions about the be inclusive of that diversity,” she says. demand. country’s diverse refugee population. All of these factors – worldwide Towle said it was critical that resources Following up on the theme of demand, post-arrival services, and a committed to the support of refugees inclusiveness, panels featuring refugees more diverse group of arrivals – make in areas such as health, education, who have been settled in New Zealand settlement and resettlement an extremely housing and social support are kept at an included speakers from Somalia, adequate level even in the current tough Myanmar, the former Yugoslavia and complex area. financial times. Afghanistan, who shared insights into the The 2009 Conference was an excellent He also noted it was vital that refugee challenges they faced both in escaping opportunity to explore those issues resettlement intakes retained their integrity persecution in their homeland and in through discussion with academics, and were “racially blind” and purely about adjusting to life in New Zealand. service providers and refugee the protection of refugees. Hayward says AUT’s Centre for communities so that the next 20 years of “With such a small number of Refugee Education has played a critical refugee resettlement in New Zealand is resettlement places compared to role in the resettlement of refugees and even more successful than the first. 22 Discussion Paper No. 1/2010
  • 23. Realities of settlement in the context of Papua New Guinea From Walpurga Englbrecht 5,000 in the border areas between PNG and Iowara’s boundaries creating tensions with UNHCR Country Representative, PNG Indonesia and another 2,700 refugees in the local population. urban areas. While conditions in general in terms of Papua New Guinea (PNG) is host to shelter, education, and health are equal to the some 10,000 West Papuan refugees and 20 non-Melanesian asylum-seekers and West Papuan refugees in standards enjoyed by the local populations Iowara-East Awin living nearby,1 access to safe water and refugees. While the different protection adequate sanitary facilities remains a regimes applicable to West Papuan and (East Awin) concern. Further, the lack of justice services, non-Melanesian refugees impact on their East Awin is a 6,000 hectare piece of land protection structures to prevent and respond possibilities for settlement, so do the living in a remote part of PNG’s Western Province to gender-based violence, shortfalls in child conditions offered in rural and urban settings. allocated by the PNG Government which protection systems and limited support to The following article looks more closely at allowed for the relocation of West Papuan vulnerable households are areas which need the situation of the West Papuan refugees in refugees from the initial makeshift camps further attention. Iowara-East Awin, in the border and urban near the border where they had crossed. The Where refugees after residence of eight areas, as well as of the non-Melanesian location of the East Awin refugee settlement years in PNG would like to apply for PNG asylum-seekers and refugees living in cities is one of the most remote refugee settlements citizenship, the high fee of Kina 10,000 in PNG. in the world, only accessible by boat from (approximately USD 4,000) makes this option West Papuan refugees have been arriving Kiunga town to the Rampsite, about one only available for very few refugees. in PNG since the 1960s, with the largest hour upstream on the Fly River followed by a influx, estimated to be between 12,000 and strenuous six to twelve-hour ride (depending West Papuans 15,000 persons, occurring between 1984 on the weather and road conditions) by in border areas and 1986. They originate from all areas agricultural tractor-trailer or trucks to the West Papuans at the border have never of West Papua with the majority coming camp. East Awin’s administration centre relocated to East Awin for at least six months, from Merauke, Mindiptana, Wamena and is located approximately 120 kilometres as required by the Limited Integration Jayapura districts. In 2000, another group of from the Indonesian/PNG border and 46 Policy. Therefore, their stay has never been 500 West Papuan refugees arrived. kilometres from the Fly River. regularized, they are not supported by the In 1996, the Government of PNG adopted There are 13 major settlements – 12 Government and do not hold PRPs which a so-called “Limited Integration Policy”, settlements housing refugees, one hosting would provide them access to services and granting permissive residency permits local residents – located along a 30 kilometre assistance. (PRPs) to those West Papuan refugees who section of the Kiunga to Nomad road. The Consequently, these settlements agreed to reside in East Awin for at least six Government has bought the land and based in the border areas have only limited months. PRPs provide West Papuans with on a land survey which is currently being health and education services available access to a higher standard of protection undertaken, will provide the land to the as provided by various church groups. than non-Melanesians. PRP holders can families on a 99-year-lease basis. Where elementary schools exist, they are engage in business activities, enrol in PNG Land provides a foundation that allows not registered with the authorities. Aid schools and tertiary institutions, access refugees to earn an income by cultivating posts are existent but health staff has health facilities and enjoy, albeit restricted, rubber, fruits and vegetables. However, the only very basic knowledge and drugs are freedom of movement. Restrictions include rubber trees will only be ready for harvest in often not available because of delivery not residing in the border areas of Western four or five years. Meanwhile, the residents delays. Refugees have basic stilt housing and Sepik Provinces, not engaging in have to see how the nascent fruit and available made out of bush materials. political activities, not having voting rights vegetable delivery project and the peanut Given the pollution resulting from the Ok and not having the right to membership of processing project can flourish. The success Tedi copper mine, access to safe water is political parties. PRPs are valid for three of the two projects depend on a functioning a major concern. Further, the lack of proper years. Naturalisation is available to those road and the availability of transportation sanitary facilities combined with flooding PRP holders who have established presence means, both which are challenges due of the majority of the settlements turns the in PNG for eight years, and to the second to the remoteness of the villages, harsh area into sewage and makes housing, aid generation of children born in PNG. weather conditions and lack of maintenance posts and schooling inaccessible. The But how does this Limited Integration structures at this stage. Other factors limiting refugees do not have a regular income Policy affect the daily lives of the West productivity are the poor soil conditions because of limited access to land coupled Papuan refugees in PNG? At this stage, and limited arable land which often forces with infertile soil and the pollution of the Fly some 2,300 refugees live in East Awin, some the refugees to establish gardens outside river (from the Ok Tedi river). Discussion Paper No. 1/2010 23
  • 24. West Papuans Non-Melanesian asylum- only the refugee group in Iowara-East Awin and those in urban areas who hold PRPs in urban settings seekers and refugees have an option to settle successfully. West Papuans who live in urban areas By end of August 2009, there were 20 Access to land is a real challenge in the but never relocated to East Awin for the asylum-seekers and refugees registered PNG context. 97 per cent of the land is required six months do not hold permissive with UNHCR, living in urban settings owned by the community and unless the (Port Moresby, Daru and Vanimo). But the Government is able to buy land, as has residency permits and are registered. In possibilities for settlement are limited and been the case for the group in East Awin, addition, there are other refugees in urban negatively impacted by the lack of a proper refugees do not have access to it. While areas who held permits but never renewed legal and regulatory framework and the them, not fully understanding the legal many West Papuans have integrated into upholding of seven reservations to the 1951 implications. While there is the general their communities in urban areas, the lack of Convention. While the “Limited Integration understanding that they are in principle written agreements on the use of land make Policy” allows for the regularization of them vulnerable to evictions. refugees, the authorities do not feel West Papuan refugees and their access Some of the current obstacles to responsible for them in providing them with to documentation and services, non– successful settlement also lie in the current proper documentation, necessary services Melanesian asylum-seekers and refugees legal framework in PNG which actually or other support. With no official access remain without any government protection creates three different refugee groups: a) to the labour market they have to rely on and assistance. At this stage, asylum- West Papuan refugees who relocated to East subsistence farming, but as land is scarce seekers and refugees rely entirely on the assistance provided by UNHCR (basic Awin and therefore have access to PRPs and in urban areas refugees are often subject services; b) West Papuan refugees who did shelter, modest financial subsistence to exploitation. not relocate to East Awin and whose status allowance and support for access to health For example, one particular group has not been regularised with no access to services). Furthermore, non-Melanesian bought land but it turned out that the documentation and basic services; and c) asylum-seekers and refugees are particularly person from whom they bought the land vulnerable to xenophobia and racism non-Melanesian refugees who do not have was not the real land owner. There is amongst the local population, heightened access to most basic rights (e.g. legal status, a culture to rely on verbal agreements after the start of attacks against Asian shop labour market). as for the use of land. However, where owners in April 2009. To allow for the successful settlement land disputes are brought before courts, of the different refugee groups, it would titles as recorded in the registry count Successful settlement be vital for the PNG Government to create and not what has been verbally agreed. Creating conditions for successful settlement a comprehensive protection framework2 This resulted in their eviction and is paramount to assist refugees to integrate and thus create, for all refugee groups, they are currently living in a makeshift into society. Refugees need a clarified legal the same status and rights and eliminate status and proper documentation. They need discrimination. accommodation – basic floor on stilts and access to land and the labour market and tarpaulin as cover which does not provide 1. It is important to note that the service delivery is quite in a should be given economic opportunities, poor state in Papua New Guinea. adequate protection against the elements. 2. The creation of an adequate protection framework would as well as ensured availability of education, include: adoption of PNG refugee policy; withdrawal of Sanitary conditions are also inadequate. health, protection (including for women, the current seven reservations to the 1951 Convention; While the Government has named some broadening of the Limited Integration Policy; revision of children and groups with specific needs) the Migration Act, coupled with creation of refugee status other locations, actual allocation of land and justice services. Comparing the four determination and reception procedures; and waiver or reduction of the fee of Kina 10,000 for the grant of PNG has never happened. refugee groups, it becomes apparent that citizenship. The entrance to Iowara- East Awin in PNG.
  • 25. Senator Edward M. Kennedy has a smile and a handshake for an unidentified young refugee in an eastern Sudan camp in 1984. Many of the refugees had walked for a week to reach the camp from Eritrea. AP Photo/Robert Dear Edward Kennedy receives the 2009 Nansen Refugee Award From UNHCR put the plight of refugees on the agenda Senator Kennedy’s interest in refugee Communications Service and drove through policies that saved and protection did not stop at the US border shaped countless lives.” – he was the voice and the hope of In recognition of his achievements as a From his election in 1962, Senator persecuted and uprooted individuals life-long advocate on behalf of the world’s Kennedy adopted a comprehensive worldwide. He brought attention to most vulnerable people, the recipient of approach in his fight for refugee refugee crises in Africa, Asia, the Middle the 2009 Nansen Refugee Award is the protection. He effectively utilized his East, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. late Edward Kennedy. influence in the United States Congress Most recently, he played a critical role in Senator Kennedy’s work in establishing to advance refugee and asylum-related US refugee admissions, resettlement, and drawing attention to the needs of Iraqi legislation and to raise awareness of asylum programs directly helped millions refugees. refugee crises. of persecuted individuals to find protection UNHCR is grateful it was able to Senator Kennedy met with governments and start new lives in the United States. inform Senator Kennedy of the Nansen at the highest levels, encouraging them He was the chief sponsor of more than Committee’s decision in June 2009, and is to welcome refugees seeking protection 70 refugee related measures and was deeply saddened by his passing. in their territories. His work helped to instrumental in codifying international The Nansen Refugee Award is given raise public awareness of the challenges refugee obligations into US law. refugees face around the world. He also annually to an individual or organisation In announcing the Nansen award in regularly met with refugees themselves, for outstanding work on behalf of September 2009, UN High Commissioner visiting refugee settings around the refugees. It includes a $100,000 prize for Refugees António Guterres said: globe as well as in local US communities. that the winner can donate to a cause of “Senator Kennedy stood out as a forceful Throughout, he demonstrated a level of his or her choice. It was created in 1954 advocate for those who suddenly found compassion and empathy for individual in honour of Fridtjof Nansen, Norwegian themselves with no voice and no rights. refugees and their communities unrivalled explorer, scientist and the first UN High Year after year, conflict after conflict, he in the US Congress. Commissioner for Refugees. Refugee Newsletter No. 1/2010 25
  • 26. UNHCR encouraged by US$ 477.5 million initial donor response to 2010 From UNHCR seekers, stateless and internally programmes, with the aim of providing Communications Service displaced people in 118 countries. protection and for activities including Donors commended UNHCR on this adequate housing, ensuring sufficient Donors have committed an initial US$ new approach. clean water, proper sanitation facilities, as 477.5 million towards the UN Refugee “In the present circumstances and well as to upgrade and widen access to Agency’s US$ 3 billion funding appeal for taking into account the extremely complex health and education services. The rest 2010, its largest ever such request and financial environment that we have around of the 2010 budget will be to meet the aimed at meeting the basic needs of a the world, I think we need to feel very needs of a growing number of internally growing number of persons under its care. happy with the level of support that these displaced people and stateless persons The commitments came in December pledges have shown, and I would like to as well as for reintegration projects. during UNHCR’s annual pledging express my very, very strong appreciation While acknowledging the initial conference in Geneva, where High for that”, UN High Commissioner for contributions, Mr. Guterres added: “We Refugees António Guterres told delegates will be counting a lot on your generosity Commissioner António Guterres asked at the conference. during the year to be able to come as donors to fund a US$ 3.007 billion These early pledges are particularly close as possible to the global needs requirement. critical for ongoing operations in assessment indications that we had”. He The 2010 funding appeal is based on Afghanistan, Chad, Colombia, the also welcomed progress made in 2009 the most comprehensive assessment Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, in increasing donations from the private to date of the needs of persons under Pakistan, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Sudan. sector, as well as from States in the Persian UNHCR’s care. The budget is to help Of the requested US$ 3 billions, US$ Gulf whose financial support was essential more than 34 million refugees, asylum- 2.1 billion will be devoted to refugee to funding many operations this year. UNHCR staff take part in a mission to assess the needs of internally displaced people in north-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. UNHCR/M.Fawke
  • 27. In this flat in Malaysia, 50 refugees form a ‘village’ where communal cooking and cleaning are done and the members support and assist each other. Those who are able to earn an income help support those who can’t. UNHCR/Zalmaï Half of the world’s refugees now live in cities From UNHCR According to recent estimates, the Afghan Refugees in cities will typically live Communications Service capital of Kabul has grown sevenfold since alongside nationals and migrants who 2001, and many of the new arrivals are have migrated to urban areas in pursuit As many as 50 per cent of the world’s 10.5 former refugees who have returned from of higher living standards. These different million refugees under UNHCR’s mandate the Islamic Republic of Iran or Pakistan, or groups all contend with difficult day-to-day are now living in cities and towns across displaced people who are escaping violence circumstances in communities that will the globe. At least twice that number of in rural areas of the country. lack even the most basic welfare support. internally displaced people and returnees In the Middle East, both Damascus in More pressure on infrastructure and are believed to be in urban settings. Syria and Amman in Jordan are providing environment, on housing and social services “We need to abandon the outmoded a sanctuary for hundreds of thousands of in communities already struggling can image that most refugees live in sprawling Iraqis who have been forced to flee their create tensions between local and refugee camps of UNHCR tents,” UNHCR High country. populations – and in worst cases, can fuel Commissioner for Refugees António In Asia, urban settings for refugees range xenophobia with catastrophic results. Guterres said. “What we are witnessing from sprawling mega cities such as Kuala Within this volatile and shifting context, is that more and more refugees live in Lumpur in Malaysia, to refugee communities UNHCR is faced with the most basic of cities.” Guterres was speaking ahead of the on the edge of conurbations that over time challenges – how to identify and reach out annual “High Commissioner’s Dialogue” in have become permanent settlements. to refugees. Geneva from 9-10 December with a focus UNHCR experience on the ground paints “While the issue is global, conditions vary on protection challenges in the context of a graphic picture of refugees struggling greatly from region to region and so much urbanization. to survive in urban environments. Forced depends on a local response. That’s why, as Like 3.3 billion other people in the world, to live in overcrowded slums and shanty well as working at government level, we are towns, with little or no access to health highlighting the role of mayors and municipal refugees have been steadily moving to and social services, most are obliged to authorities as pivotal. We look to them in cities, mostly in developing countries, a trend eke out a living in the informal sector of particular to help build understanding and that has accelerated since the 1950s. The the economy, where they are subject to cooperation between refugees and the local number of city-dwellers has grown fourfold exploitation. Many individuals stay under the population on the ground. They can make a over the last 60 years, from 730 million in radar, preferring to remain “invisible” for fear big difference,” said Guterres. 1950 to over 3.3 billion today. Eighty per cent of deportation. This makes registration and UNHCR’s new “Policy on Refugee of urban-dwellers will soon live in towns and identification difficult. Protection and Solutions in Urban Areas” cities of the developing world. The arrival of large numbers of forcibly calls on states, municipal authorities and “The rights of refugees travel with them displaced people to cities places additional mayors, humanitarian agencies and civil wherever they flee,” Guterres said, “and strains on scarce public resources such society to recognize this new reality and to they are entitled to the same protection and as health and education, and may lead to join forces to meet the challenge raised by services in cities and towns that they have increases in the prices of basic needs such a growing refugee population living in towns traditionally received in camps.” as food and accommodation. and cities worldwide. Refugee Newsletter No. 1/2010 27
  • 28. Australia for UNHCR & Pricewaterhouse Coopers mission to Eastern Chad Children in their new school at Kounongou Camp, Eastern Chad. Australia for UNHCR/M.Collins From Maureen Collins northern camps; Mile, Kounoungou, juice making, hair braiding, and henna Development Manager Touloum and Iridimi, a new PWC funded hand painting. Australia for UNHCR school had been built. The schools, as The most valuable personal lesson from Last year I was fortunate enough to work well as traditional classrooms, had space the trip was that this funding had not only with Pricewaterhouse Coopers to raise for vocational training and community helped the 30,000 children in these four funds to help educate children from meeting rooms. In the harshest camps who would gain eight years of Darfur. The fundraiser was to celebrate environment, soaring temperatures, 100 education. It has also had a huge impact the company’s tenth anniversary and kilometre per hour winds, no water and no on all 80,000 refugees living here. Freeing globally raised a staggering US$4million resources, these buildings were nothing up mothers and teenage girls from looking in ten working days. short of a miracle. after children and younger siblings At the end of September 2009, I One of the Sheiks in Touloum told us allowed these women to learn their own travelled with Rick Millen (Senior Partner “Never when we were in the war in Darfur skills, giving them a sense of hope and in charge of Global CSR, PWC) and could we have imagined a school like this. alleviating boredom. The schools gave Kathryn Wightman-Beaven (CSR Director, In Darfur it would have been a University.” the men in the camps a sense of purpose PWC) and colleagues from UNHCR to visit As well as building the schools the and the opportunity to get involved in the project in Eastern Chad. project has included training teachers school and education committees, no After arriving in the capital N’Djamena, and supplying them with ‘Teacher Kits’ longer feeling they had failed to protect it took us a further five days to reach our including a dictionary, atlas, chalks, and provide for their families. PWC will first refugee camp, Mile, on the north hurricane lamp and a uniform. School continue to fund this program now known eastern border with Sudan. Due to a children have received new books and as ‘Educating the Children of Darfur’ and combination of bureaucracy, security and school materials, many of them sitting at a will raise additional funds early in 2010. the remoteness of the location, to say desk for the first time. 39 per cent of girls in So whilst these people have suffered nothing of the 48 degree temperature, you school in these four camps have babies. unimaginable horrors and are very much began to understand how difficult life is The vocational training centre in limbo their time is no longer wasted. here in what appears to be the edge of offers youth who have finished They will have the benefit of returning existence. primary education a variety of training home with new skills and educated Over the next few days I began to opportunities that might help them create children, something they can keep for life. understand the enormity of what had livelihoods focusing on such areas as To support the vital work of UNHCR in been achieved. In four of the most electronics, journalism, the environment, Darfur, visit 28 Refugee Newsletter No. 1/2010
  • 29. Communities gather to highlight Real People, Real Needs on World Refugee Day 2009 World Refugee Day commemorations Shin Thu Gay of the Karen community and Brisbane hosted major community around the region culminated in a special told of her appreciation to the Australian celebrations to mark World Refugee Day. community gathering of around 200 community for the opportunities given In all, over 100 local events were held people hosted by UNHCR on 20 June to her and her seven children for a new on and around World Refugee Day by 2009 in Canberra, featuring colourful life after more than 20 years in a refugee UNHCR, community groups, government cultural presentations, music, poetry and camp on the Thai-Myanmar border. and municipal authorities, former refugee speeches from local resettled refugees. Din Pla Hongsar, a local Mon groups, schools and universities. In line with the World Refugee Day theme, community leader, explained his feeling UNHCR pays tribute to all the Real People, Real Needs, the participation of respect at being called “sir” for the of refugees and former refugees helped enthusiastic groups who organized and first time in Australia. He said he was to highlight the human stories behind the participated in these events, notably the surprised when a taxi driver asked him, ever increasing number of people forcibly Refugee Council of Australia and Refugee “sir where do you want to go?” – a feeling uprooted around the world – a statistic Services New Zealand. of real respect that was impossible to find which now stands at 42 million. UNHCR’s community gathering was for him in his home country. “On this World Refugee Day, we a fitting end to a week of activities in These stories were just two of the many have the opportunity to look behind the Australia’s capital which included flying being told at community events all around statistics to see and hear the real people World Refugee flags (with the support Australia, New Zealand and Papua New in our communities, the many former of the ACT Government) along the main refugees who are living, working and Guinea marking World Refugee Day 2009. In PNG, UNHCR organized a avenues of Canberra and having iconic making real contributions to our society,” successful exhibition and auction of national buildings lit up in UN blue each UNHCR Regional Representative Richard refugee artwork which raised much night in the week leading up to 20 June. Towle said at the Canberra community needed funds for services in the East It is UNHCR’s hope that all of these gathering. Two former refugees from Myanmar Awin refugee camp. activities contributed to a better gave compelling accounts of the Football matches involving former understanding of refugee issues among challenges they overcame as refugees refugees were held in Wellington, the public and a sense of inclusiveness and their experiences since being Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney and welcome for refugees and former resettled to Australia. while cities including Auckland, Perth refugees in our communities. Canberra’s Old Parliament House lit up in blue to highlight World Refugee Day.
  • 30. Makeshift shelters and new tents in a section for new arrivals at Ifo, one of the three refugee camps at Dadaab in north-east Kenya. UNHCR/E.Hockstein From the National Association From Naomi Steer annual World Refugee Day Breakfast at about UNHCR’s work. It is the brainchild National Director, Australia for UNHCR Sydney’s Westin Hotel. of Special Youth Representatives Sophie UNHCR’s national association, Australia The Breakfast, which was supported Weldon and Adut Dau Atem, and seeks by the UNHCR Regional Representative to use the power of social networking to for UNHCR, remains on track to raise its Richard Towle and former Wallaby raise awareness and funds for refugees goal of $7.5 million for 2009 to support Captain Mr Phil Kearns, was attended by around the world. vital UNHCR humanitarian programmes. more than 400 guests who heard the story In response to the humanitarian crisis in This is despite the global economic of former refugee Aminata Conteh and her the Dadaab Refugee Settlement in Kenya, downturn and the resulting impact on dramatic escape from Sierra Leone with which is currently supporting a population donations to charities. Australia for the support of UNHCR. UNHCR is currently the third largest of almost 300,000 refugees, Australia for As well as giving financially, Australian private donor to UNHCR globally. UNHCR launched a public appeal for supporters are generously donating their This is due to the commitment of more Christmas. Supporters were asked to add free time too. In 2009 we launched a new than 20,000 Australian individuals who their gift to the “World’s Biggest Relief initiative – fundraising through Sydney’s give to UNHCR on a regular basis as Package for the World’s Biggest Refugee City2Surf – which raised over $6500. well as contributions from a number of Camp”, with the goal of raising $400,000. Other events such as talks by journalist international industry leaders, including and author Paul McGeough about his A Channel Nine team travelled with PricewaterhouseCoopers, Microsoft and experiences in Iraq and a special exhibit A4U to Dadaab in December, raising both law firms Corrs Chambers Westgarth and and sale of textiles from the ancient Silk awareness of the crisis and extra funds Freehills. route were well attended and continued to through a donation hotline. The appeal Australia for UNHCR was also delighted to draw both funds and interest. is still ongoing, but to date more than welcome the appointment of Her Excellency Youth for UNHCR is another new $300,000 has been raised. the Governor-General Ms Quentin Bryce AC initiative launched this year. Youth Australia for UNHCR will be celebrating as its new Patron who helped launch World for UNHCR aims to engage young its 10th anniversary in 2010, and aims to Refugee Day 2009 activities at A4U’s eighth Australians by spreading the message raise $10 million throughout the year. 30 Refugee Newsletter No. 1/2010
  • 31. Thanks to our donors UNHCR Regional Office Canberra extends its sincere thanks to the Australian and New Zealand Governments for their support. UNHCR has so far received the following funds for its work around the world to 1 September 2009 Australia 2009 Source Programme Amount (USD) AusAID Core Contribution 9,761,415 AusAID Iraq – Consolidated Appeal 6,041,108 AusAID Pakistan – IDPs/Floods 1,993,139 AusAID Democratic Republic of Congo – SGBV 1,569,859 AusAID Myanmar – Rohingya population in the Northern Rakhine State 1,294,964 AusAID Afghanistan – Humanitarian action plan 1,294,964 AusAID Democratic Republic of Congo – the Eastern Province of North Kivu 1,137,885 AusAID Kenya – International Refugee Fund 1,079,137 AusAID Sri Lanka – Common Humanitarian Action Plan 1,079,137 DIAC Syria – Displaced Persons Programme 984,614 DIAC Indonesia – Long-term strategy for protection capacity building 704,252 AusAID Sri Lanka – Internally Displaced Persons 681,199 DIAC Pakistan – Displaced Persons Programme 669,344 DIAC Pakistan – Registration/Profiling of Afghan refugees 639,640 AusAID Bangladesh – International Refugee Fund 503,597 DIAC Malaysia – Enhanced Social Protection 414,552 AusAID Syria (Iraq CAP) 412,882 DIAC Sri Lanka – Displaced Persons Programme 408,918 AusAID Nepal – International Refugee Fund 359,712 DIAC Bangladesh – Displaced Persons Programme 337,050 DIAC Thailand – Displaced Persons Programme 308,473 DIAC Malaysia – Refugee Status Determination 272,252 DIAC Nepal 243,563 AusAID E-Centre Project 203,962 DIAC ICMC Deployment Scheme – Iran, Nepal & Kenya 198,000 DIAC Pacific – Building protection in Pacific Islands 163,814 DIAC Junior Professional Officer Programme 68,994 DIAC India – Women’s Protection Clinic 47,080 Total 32,873,505 New Zealand 2009 Amount (USD) NZAID Core contribution 3,500,583 Total 3,500,583 Responding to the increasingly complex pattern of forced displacement worldwide has required UNHCR to increase emergency spending more than fourfold and its overall global expenditures by 50 per cent since 2006. In tough economic times donors, partners and beneficiaries expect efficiency and effectiveness. UNHCR is transitioning to a results-oriented organization that is more responsive and accountable to donors, partners and beneficiaries. Since reforms were initiated in 2007, UNHCR has reduced the size of its staff in Geneva to 767 and increased the share of UNHCR’s funds spent on beneficiaries. 2009 has seen a major push to roll-out the next phase of our reform process – Results-based Management, the Global Needs Assessment, and our Focus software. Through these reforms, UNHCR aims to ensure our donors have full confidence in the efficiency and effectiveness of the use of funds. With this confidence, and with the clear picture of refugee needs generated by the Global Needs Assessment, we hope to generate the increased support that will be necessary to meet those needs. For more information on the Global Needs Assessment, funding issues and UNHCR’s work with refugees and others around the world, visit Refugee Newsletter No. 2/2009 31
  • 32. UNHCR resources Global Appeal Handbook for & Report Emergencies The Global Report and A reference tool which The Global Appeal offer serves to reinforce a a comprehensive view of common understanding the agency’s operations and annual among the many key actors in requirements. emergency situations. Convention Statistical & Protocol Yearbook 2007 Text of the 1951 Convention Provides data and trends Relating to the Status of on refugees, asylum- Refugees & Text of the seekers, returnees, IDPs, 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of and stateless people in more than 150 Refugees. countries. Refugee Human Rights Convention Q&A & Refugees The most frequently asked This educational kit, UNHCR REGIONAL OFFICE questions about the key including the popular series NEWSLETTER treaty on the protection of of “Lego posters” is great No. 1/2010 refugees around the world. Published way to stimulate discussion about September 2007. refugees. (Published January 2010) A publication of the Regional Office Protecting Global for Australia, New Zealand, Papua Refugees Trends 2008 New Guinea and the Pacific. Answers to some of the The 2008 Global Trends 3 Lyons Place, most commonly asked report reflects many of the Lyons ACT 2606 questions about refugees major developments in Tel: +61 (0)2 6260 3411 themselves and how the agency forced displacement between January Fax: +61 (0)2 6260 3477 attempts to help them. and December 2008. E-mail: Web: Protecting Asylum Editors: Ben Farrell and Alex Donato Women & Girls Trends 2008 This Handbook describes the Summarizes patterns and protection challenges faced trends in asylum claims made by women and girls and the strategies in industrialized nations, including Australia to tackle these challenges. and New Zealand, during 2008. The above resources are available online at and in some cases in hard copy via UNHCR Regional Office Canberra. Email for details.