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World Refugee Day figures separate Australian myths from reality

The Australian Greens say figures released for World Refugee Day today put Australia's share of the global challenge into perspective.

"On World Refugee Day, the Greens renew their call for a fair go for refugees," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said.

"Today we give thanks for generations of refugees who have helped improve Australia in a myriad of ways including our cultural, foods, sport, education and business worlds.

"It's important we keep the numbers in perspective because as the UNHCR'S Canberra office says, Australia's share remains relatively stable and small by global standards.

"The office also reinforces what the Greens have often said - that our location is far from the sources of conflict such as Afghanistan from which desperate people have fled.

"We also pause to think of developing countries where four in five of the world's refugees live - some 2.4 million people are hosted by the 48 least developed countries.

"The UNHCR'S 2011 Global Trends report published this week says some 17,700 unaccompanied children sought asylum worldwide in 2011. Last month there were around 160 unaccompanied children in detention in Australia.

"None of these children should be in detention and the laws must be changed so children are no longer detained as a matter of first resort.

"Australia must continue to provide protection to people who seek it, regardless of how they have arrived.

"The Greens say Australia must do more to provide leadership to the region, maintain its commitment to our obligations under the Refugee Convention, maintain its asylum seeker programme and expand its resettlement scheme.

"We agree with the UNHCR that Australia should do more to work closer with its southeast Asian neighbours to boost protection options and reduce the need to board dangerous boats."


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