Australia to Accept 4,400 Refugees from Iraq & Syria
By Sounak Mukhopadhyay | August 18, 2014 1:27 PM EST
Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, who fled the violence in the Iraqi town of Sinjar, march in a demonstration at the Iraqi-Turkish border crossing in Zakho district of the Dohuk Governorate of the Iraqi Kurdistan province August 17, 2014. Demonstrators demanded protection and evacuation from Iraq to safer areas such as Europe and the United States. Iraq has been plunged into its worst violence since the peak of a sectarian civil war in 2006-2007, with Sunni fighters led by the Islamic State overrunning large parts of the west and north, forcing hundreds of thousands to flee for their lives and threatening ethnic Kurds in their autonomous province.
According to Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, Australia's decision to take political refuges comes as a result of the successful border protection policies of the country. Several people have fled Syria and Iraq due to political unrest and violence in the Middle-Eastern countries. Australia plans to take 2,200 refugees from each country, Morrison said on Sunday, Aug 17.
Morrison earlier announced that the Abbott government had decided to open the annual humanitarian refugee programme. The decision was in response to the political crisis in Iraq where Yazidi and Christian minorities had been threatened by ISIS militants. The minority communities were asked to accept Islam or get ready to die.
In the meantime, Morrison also said that Australia would no longer accept refugees who came by boat to the country. Australia has been highly criticised for its border protection policies as it has recently sent back several asylum-seekers back to their homeland, which eventually made their life more difficult in return. Several of such refugees are now treated as criminals in their individual countries as many of them are illegal refugees.
Australia's decision to accept refugees from Syria and Iraq seems to have originated from a totally different perspective as the Abbott government is sympathetic to their cause. Morrison mentioned that the refugees would have to go through the regular procedure of asking refuge in a country. "Our effective border protection and changes we've made mean we can, with certainty, guarantee and plan to take people in these distressing situations," Morrison said, "They'll have to follow all the normal processes of course: the health, security and identity checks."
Morrison, at the same time, also clarified that there would not be any preference in terms of religion while accepting refugees to Australia. "Predominantly, we will address this program with no particular view to one's religion but one's state of persecution," he said, "It's quite clear there are many Christians fleeing persecution in Iraq at present. Similarly there are people of other faiths who face persecution."
Contact the writer: s.mukhopadhyay@IBTimes.com.au
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