AUSTRALIAN HIGH COMMISSION ISLAMABAD
21 February 2013
Reporting in the Dawn newspaper article “2,500 Hazara families offered asylum” on 21 February 2013 is incorrect.
Australia is sympathetic to communities affected by sectarian violence and acts of terrorism.
While Australia’s offshore Humanitarian Program has been increased in 2012–2013, there are no new arrangements for particular ethnicities or people from a particular part of any country.
Australia is not introducing a new program to resettle Hazaras out of Pakistan. Australia’s ongoing resettlement program is only for refugees.
Australia’s priority is to assist those refugees who are the most vulnerable.
Refugees, including Afghan Hazaras, wanting to be resettled in Australia must be recognised by UNHCR as meeting the criteria for refugee status. To be considered for resettlement, they must be among the most vulnerable.
Australia works closely with UNHCR in many countries around the world to identify refugees for resettlement. This includes in Pakistan.
UNHCR refers refugees to Australia where they have identified them as being in need of resettlement. Australia only considers refugees referred by UNHCR.
All Humanitarian visa applicants must satisfy the legal requirements for an Australian visa. There are no quotas for particular groups of people.
Further information on Australia’s offshore Humanitarian Program is available on the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s website:http://www.immi.gov.au/visas/humanitarian/
Contact: Melissa Kelly 051 835 5346 or 0300 854 7816