International Women’s Day 2011
As the economic, political and social achievements of women are celebrated around the world on the 100th International Women’s Day, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship today reminded Australians to take the opportunity to consider the plight of vulnerable refugee women and children and Australia’s efforts to help them.
Australia has provided assistance to many vulnerable refugee women and children over many years through various programs including the ‘woman at risk’ program.
The woman at risk visa category is part of Australia’s humanitarian program and was introduced in 1989 to help women and children living outside their home country without the protection of a male relative.
“It’s important to realise the particular risks faced by single female refugees,” a departmental spokesman said today. “In cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, this program assists women and their children to resettle and rebuild their lives in safety in Australia.”
Since the introduction of the program, more than 10 700 ‘woman at risk’ visas have been granted. Some 806 visas were granted in the 2009–10 program year and about 325 visas have been granted so far in the 2010–11 program year.
Australia has also recently contributed to helping refugee women overseas through a $320 000 grant to a centre in Jordan that will work with the Iraqi refugee population. The centre will focus on the protection of refugee women and girls by creating effective responses and assistance to those at risk.
Australia also provides grants through the Diversity and Social Cohesion Program (DSCP) to support projects that encourage social equality and inclusion.
“Projects through the DSCP, such as the ‘South Western Sydney Muslim Communites Guiding’ and the ‘Involve’ leadership project, aim to build the capacity of young female Muslims in Australia by delivering leadership training programs, project management and team work skills,” the spokesman said.
“International Women’s Day is a chance for Australians to recognise the nation’s efforts to help people rebuild safe and secure lives in Australia, and also to acknowledge the help we provide to vulnerable women all around the world.”
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