Increase The Humanitarian Program

Protect displaced people at the source

Asylum seekers who are fleeing from armed conflict, violence or persecution are looking for a place of safety and hope. As conflicts erupt, the overwhelming majority of displaced people travel little further than their nearest neighbours. At this point many have lost their loved ones and their livelihood. Sadly in most cases, these horrific situations will last for many years. Australia's humanitarian program save lives, especially when displaced people are resettled directly from the war-torn country of origin and surrounding neighbours. Australia’s resettlement program provides a safe legal and orderly pathway to Australia. It provides people with the opportunity to escape the violence and persecution and importantly it offers hope. The decision to reach Australia by boat is a second-best alternative to applying directly for a visa and migrating in a regular way. Displaced people are less likely to seek asylum clandestinely if an alternative pathway is available.

Increase the humanitarian program

In 2012, UNHCR recorded over 15.4 million refugees in the world. In addition to this figure, 17.7 million people were internally displaced and another almost 1 million were seeking asylum. Over 80% of the total people displaced in the world are hosted by the world's poorest nations. Currently, each year Australia sets aside 11,000 places for the world’s refugee population. This program desperately needs to be increased.

Provide complementary protection

The 1951 Refugee Convention outlines the strict legal definition of a refugee. Under the convention, applicants must prove they have a well-founded fear of persecution based on one of five headings, namely; race, religion, nationality, social group or political opinion. People facing many other serious human rights violations such as torture, honour killings, cruel or inhuman treatment, arbitrarily deprivation of life and the death penalty; are not granted protection under the 1951 Refugee Convention. ACMRO advocates for complementary protection where life is threatened and the strict legal definition of a refugee does not afford protection.

Greater synergy with the migration program

Australia is a diverse and multicultural community made up of people from almost all nations. When war, violence and persecution break out in other countries, it is likely that there will be some Australians who have family members caught up in the violence. ACMRO advocates that other visa streams under our migration program such as the family, skilled, and student visa categories, should lend priority to countries facing urgent humanitarian crisis. Part of the pressure on asylum seekers to reach Australia by boat and claim protection is because other visas are not accessible. Largely, this is because of the difficulties asylum seekers face collecting together all the necessary documentation required to migrate in regular ways.