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Australia considers taking in Syrian Christian refugees on priority basis


Syrian Christian refugees

Australian government determined to limit intake of Syrian refugees religious minorities mainly Christians.

According to media reports, The Australian government has decided to limit the ingestion of Syrian refugees to primarily Christians. In the wake of this, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is under mounting pressure to increase the refugees’ intake of 13,750 people. Key points:

However, there is still hot debate going on over what kind of refugees should be accepted. In keeping with reports, Government ministers, like Malcolm Turnbull, have argued for accepting more Syrian Christians, whereas, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has nominated minorities like the Yazidis.

What is more, The Australian Premier has been sent a clear signal of “No more Muslim men” by some in the Coalition. Malcolm Turnbull told the media that he was especially concerned about the quandary of Christian communities in Syria.

Also read: It is Britain’s duty to rescue Christians from Syria on priority basis

“They are a minority, they survived in Syria, and they’ve been there for thousands of years, literally since the time of Christ. But in an increasingly sectarian Middle East, you have to ask whether the, the gaps, the spaces that they were able to live and survive in will any longer be available.”

At the same time, Senate Leader Eric Abetz also drew attention towards the obvious case for Christians to be prioritised.”It should be on the basis of need and given the Christians are the most persecuted group in the world, and especially in the Middle East, I think it stands to reason that they would be pretty high up on the priority list for resettlement.”

Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop said that the Government is considering best possible ways to proffer temporary as well as permanent protection to those fleeing the crisis. “I think that Christian minorities are being persecuted in Syria and even if the conflict were over they would still be persecuted,” she said.

“So I believe there will be a focus on ensuring we can get access to those persecuted ethnic and religious minorities who will have no home to return to even when the conflict is over. That includes Maronites, it includes Yazidis, there are Druze, there are a whole range of ethnic and religious minorities that make up the populations in both Syria and Iraq.”

The Chief Executive of the Refugee Council Paul Power said it is “natural” to anticipate that the major part of refugees will be Christian, but he said prioritising Christian refugees may do damage.

“I’m sure one of the consequences is that extremists within Syria and other parts of the Middle East will use this as a weapon against Syrian Christians. They would use it as an argument to push the view that the west cares about Christians and does not care about Muslims and other religious minorities.”