Who are FASSTT clients?
Australia receives up to 13,000 people each year under its refugee and humanitarian program, with approximately 60% of these entrants settling in New South Wales and Victoria. Many of these entrants attend the member agencies of FASSTT. In 2004/2005 more than 11,000 survivors of torture and trauma received FASSTT agency services. In 2013/14 more than 15,000 survivors of torture and trauma received FASSTT agency services.
For more information about the profile of FASSTT clients (and the client profiles of individual FASSTT agencies) see the report Out of the Abyss.
What is a refugee?
The legal definition of a refugee is found in the United Nations Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees. According to Article 1 of the Convention, a refugee is:
a person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, opinion, is outside the country of his (or her) nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself (or herself) of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it. (The UNHCR’s website has the complete text of the Convention.)
Under the government’s refugee and humanitarian program, approximately 6000 places are set aside for entrants who meet this legal definition of being a refugee. A further 7000 places are set aside for those who come from a refugee-like background and who have a sponsor in Australia. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s factsheets provide more information about the Refugee and Humanitarian program.
How many refugees are there worldwide?
At the start of 2006 there were 20.8 million people ‘of concern’ to the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR). This includes refugees, internally displaced people, asylum seekers, returned refugees and stateless people. For a comprehensive report on these people see the UNHCR’s annual report Refugees by Numbers.
What services are provided to refugee and humanitarian entrants in Australia?
The Australian government has established the Integrated Humanitarian Settlement Scheme (IHSS) (funded by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship) to provide assistance to people who are resettled in Australia under the refugee and humanitarian program. Under the IHSS, eligible entrants can receive a range of support including on-arrival reception, assistance with household goods and accommodation, information and support to assist in settling in Australia, referral to relevant services (such as health and employment services), and short-term torture and trauma counselling. In addition, entrants can receive free English language tuition. For more information on the IHSS and other services see the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s factsheets.