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Australian government must increase refugee intake

Published: 31 January 2017

The Australian government must make a stronger commitment to fulfil its human rights obligations and increase its intake of Syrian and Iraqi refugees, in light of the United States’ immigration ban, the President of the Australian Association of Social Workers, Professor Karen Healy AM, said today.

“President Trump’s discriminatory approach to dealing with the Syrian humanitarian crisis will have devastating and catastrophic consequences for innocent people fleeing warn-torn countries,” said Professor Healy.

“Every human being has the right to dignity and freedom from intimidation and persecution and the Australian government needs to take immediate action to protect these most fundamental of rights.”

“The Turnbull government must demonstrate to the world that as Australians we are opposed to Trump’s deeply misguided approach, which is based on ignorance and fear, by increasing our refugee resettlement program.”

Next year will be 50 years since the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Professor Healy says the current situation shows we still have a long way to go to ensure everyone is afforded basic human rights.

“Australia has benefited greatly from migration and the influx of refugees, especially since the 1940s. This diversity has enriched our country and serves as an example to the world.”

“In this current political climate of increasing intolerance and division, it is vital our politicians show global leadership by implementing a more compassionate approach to dealing with this humanitarian crisis,” Professor Healy said.

She added, as well as boosting migration and to set an example to the world, the Australian government needs to proceed quickly with the closure of its offshore detention centres.

The AASW represents over 10,000 professional social workers who are committed to working with communities and individuals to promote wellbeing, human rights and social justice.

To arrange an interview with Professor Karen Healy AM, contact Emma Pegrum, Media and Marketing Manager, on 02 6199 5011 or 0408 200 191

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers