According the UNHCR, the number of displaced people fleeing from war, conflict or persecution is now at its highest level since World War II.
The forced displacement of people around the globe is currently at unprecedented levels. By the close of 2015 an estimated 60 million individuals were forcibly displaced globally by persecution, conflict, violence and human rights violations. This is equivalent to one person in every 122 on the planet being displaced by violence and war.
Labor believes that Australia can do more to address this global humanitarian crisis. We believe in a compassionate approach to asylum seekers that enables refugees to progress their claims safely and securely.
Labor has a plan to work in our region and with international humanitarian agencies to tackle this crisis while maintaining the integrity of Australia’s borders.
First and foremost, a Shorten Labor Government will provide significantly increased annual funding to the UNHCR for its global work program and its work in South East Asia and the Pacific.
At a time when the global humanitarian need is greater than ever, Labor will provide $450 million over three years to support the important work of the UNHCR. This funding commitment will place Australia in the top 5 of global contributors to the UNHCR.
Labor will also reinstate references to the UN Refugees Convention in the Migration Act to reverse the Abbott-Turnbull Government’s retrograde efforts to undermine international law.
Furthermore, we will take a leadership role within South East Asia and the Pacific to build a regional humanitarian framework to improve the situation of asylum seekers. This would include supporting the UNHCR in providing health and education services to asylum seekers. It would also involve advocating for work rights for asylum seekers, similar to what would have been achieved under the proposed Malaysia Agreement in 2011.
Labor believes Australia has a role to play as a responsible global citizen in responding to the current humanitarian crisis. We will not shirk this responsibility as the Abbott-Turnbull Government has consistently sought to do. Instead, we will work in our region and with international agencies to progress refugees’ claims safely, securely and responsibly.