Amira, 20, works as a road construction volunteer in Kutupalong mega-camp, landscaping, tunnelling and greening road sides as part of the the Site Management and Engineering Project (SMEP) in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
Amira, 20, works as a road construction volunteer in Kutupalong mega-camp, landscaping, tunnelling and greening road sides as part of the the Site Management and Engineering Project (SMEP) in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. © UNHCR/Firas Al-Khateeb  

| Australia flag Australia Making a difference, together.

Australia is one of UNHCR’s longest-standing partners and donors. Its contributions allow UNHCR to send resources to areas where the needs are greatest and to respond to major and underfunded emergencies, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.

Australia was one of the 15 States selected by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) as member of the Advisory Committee on Refugees. Australia’s signature on 22 January 1954 brought into force the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. Since the first major group of refugee arrivals in 1976, Australia has provided asylum and protection for people who fled war and persecution over four decades. According to the 2019 Global Trends Report, over the last ten years, 11 per cent of all resettled refugees were welcomed to Australia (114,500) with 18,200 refugees having been resettled in 2019 alone.

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As a significant donor of unearmarked funding, Australia’s contributions are critical to the type of flexible response that enables UNHCR to direct resources to refugees and displaced people who are most in need, whether they are affected by a new crisis or in a protracted situation, enabling UNHCR to implement programmes as fully as possible. For instance, Australia’s multi-year funding for the Myanmar situation has been particularly significant in facilitating UNHCR’s protection and assistance to the Rohingya refugees. Furthermore, Australia is one of the largest donors for UNHCR’s activities in the Asia-Pacific region, providing significant support for gender-based violence (GBV) prevention and response, gender equality and disability inclusion.

Maicao integrated assistance centre re-opens after lockdown in Colombia.

Maicao center in northern Colombia hosts one of the highest numbers of Venezuelan refugees and migrants in the region. Prioritization is given to the most vulnerable refugees, migrants, Colombian returnees and the indigenous Wayuú population. Beneficiaries from the center can stay for up to one month. As in this case, unearmarked funds from Australia help UNHCR to deliver proper assistance to the most vulnerable.

A family of Venezuelan refugees arrives at the Integrated Assistance Centre in Maicao, Colombia.
A family of Venezuelan refugees arrives at the Integrated Assistance Centre in Maicao, Colombia, which has one of the highest populations of Venezuelan refugees and migrants in the region. The Centre opened in Maicao in March 2019 to provide short term shelter for hundreds of people as well as food, health services, legal orientation, counselling and family reunifications. Beneficiaries can stay for up to one month and prioritisation is given to the most vulnerable refugees, migrants, Colombian returnees and the indigenous Wayuú population. © UNHCR/Nicolo Filippo Rosso  

Rohingya refugees find safety in Indonesia.

UNHCR staff members register a group of Rohingya refugee women from Myanmar at a site in Indonesia after a seven-month journey at sea. With Australia’s support, UNHCR can register refugees and provide access to safe places.

UNHCR staff members, Dini Hasdianti and Fanny Trijayanti Dhaspito, register a group of Rohingya refugee women from Myanmar at a site.
UNHCR staff members, Dini Hasdianti (front-left) and Fanny Trijayanti Dhaspito, register a group of Rohingya refugee women from Myanmar at a site converted from an unused government complex in Lhokseumawe, Aceh province, Indonesia. © UNHCR/Jiro Ose  

Rohingya volunteer teachers support children during the COVID-19 lockdown.

COVID-19 continues to disrupt the lives of more than 460,000 Rohingya refugee children living in Cox’s Bazar District. UNHCR, together with partners like Australia, help children to continue their studies and learn from home, engaging also parents and caregivers, while providing workbooks and visual aids. UNHCR is also ensuring that children and families have access to critical information to know how to protect themselves and their communities from COVID-19 infection. In this regard, Rohingya volunteer teachers have played a central role and are amplifying health and hygiene promotion.

Komor Uddin, a Rohingya Refugee assistant teacher at Kutupalong Learning center going door to door to give lessons to the refugee children at home due COVID-19 restrictions.
Komor Uddin, a Rohingya Refugee assistant teacher at Kutupalong Learning center going door to door to give lessons to the refugee children at home due COVID-19 restrictions. © UNHCR/Hasib Zuberi  

Children return to Ethiopia after voluntary repatriation from Kakuma, Kenya.

UNHCR's Head of Sub-office in Jijiga, Louis Lithur, plays with young Ethiopian children who have recently arrived in Dire Dawa—a city in eastern Ethiopia—with their families after years living in Kenya as refugees. UNHCR facilitated their return and provided families with cash assistance and transportation allowances. Activities in Ethiopia are underfunded and rely on unearmarked funding from countries like Australia.

UNHCR's head of sub-office in Jijiga, Louis Lithur, plays with young Ethiopian returnee children who just arrived in Dire Dawa with their families after years of living in Kenya as refugees.
UNHCR's head of sub-office in Jijiga, Louis Lithur, plays with young Ethiopian returnee children who just arrived in Dire Dawa with their families after years of living in Kenya as refugees. © UNHCR/Hanna Qassis  
Total contributions in 2021 to date