Who are FASSTT clients?
In the year 2018/19 Australia has committed to receive 18,750 under its refugee and humanitarian program. The intake was later reduced to 13,750 in 2019/20. However the impact of the global COVID pandemic and the closure of Australia’s international border for nearly two years has meant that very few people from refugee backgrounds have arrived in Australia since March 2020.
Figure 1: Significant changes in countries of birth of FASSTT clients
The national origins of people entering Australia under the Humanitarian Program have changed significantly over the decade 2009/2010 to 2019 /2020 and this is mirrored in changes in the profile of FASSTT clients.
In 2019/20 over half of FASSTT clients were born in the Middle East (63%); the vast majority of these split between Iraq (24%), Afghanistan (11%), Iran (9%), and Syria (11%). In contrast, ten years earlier only a third of clients were from this region. The proportion of clients from Africa is considerably less compared to ten years ago, with only 16% of clients from Africa in the 2019/20 period. The majority of client from Africa came from Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan South Sudan and Ethiopia and Eritrea. The proportion of clients born in Asian or Pacific countries is less at 21% in 2019 /20 , compared to 29% in 2009–10. However, the main source countries from the Asian region have changed. In 2019/20, of those from this region, 24% were from Sri Lanka and 30% from Burma (Myanmar), and 11% from Bhutan compared to half of the clients from Asian countries in 2009–10 being from Burma (Myanmar).
Services to this broader group of clients are funded by a wide range of sources, including state and local governments, philanthropic bodies and individual donations. The statistics in this section refer to all FASSTT agency clients, who numbered 14,530 in 2019/20.
How many refugees are there worldwide?
UNHCR states that by the end of 2020 there were an unprecedented 82.4 million people around the world have been forced from home. Among them are nearly 25.4 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18.
There are also an estimated 10 million stateless people who have been denied a nationality and access to basic rights such as education, healthcare, employment and freedom of movement.
What services are provided to refugee and humanitarian entrants in Australia?
The Australian Government provides a range of settlement services aimed at assisting humanitarian entrants and eligible migrants within their initial period of settlement. These services assist clients to become self-reliant and participate equally in Australian society and minimise longer-term reliance on support services.
The Australian government has established the Humanitarian Settlement Program (HSP) to provide support to humanitarian entrants to build the skills and knowledge they need to become self-reliant and active members of the Australian community.
Participation in the HSP is voluntary and services are delivered to clients through a needs-based case management approach.
HSP service providers support clients to achieve outcomes in the following areas as a foundation for successful settlement:
|Employment||Physical and mental health and well-being|
|Education and training||Community participation and networking|
|Housing||Family functioning and social support|
The HSP is designed to work in combination with other settlement and mainstream services. It has a strong focus on assisting clients to learn English and gain necessary education and employment skills in recognition that positive outcomes in these areas help humanitarian entrants integrate into Australian life.
Department of Social Services Humanitarian Settlement Program
A refugee is defined by Article 1 of the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees as someone who: ….owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.
FASSTT often uses the term ‘refugee’ to refer to people who enter Australia specifically as refugees as well as those who come from a refugee-like background.
For our clients, ‘traumatic events’ include violence and loss, persecution, human rights violations and forced displacement, often in the context of war or civil conflict. Forced displacement typically features extreme hardship, insecurity and prolonged uncertainty.
As described by the International Justice Resource Centre, the UN Convention Against Torture ‘identifies the following three elements that, if combined, constitute torture:
- the intentional infliction of severe pain or suffering;
- for a specific purpose, such as to obtain information, as punishment or to intimidate, or for any reason based on discrimination;
- by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of State authorities.’1 (This includes governments and ‘extra governmental’ groups who claim authority and exert systemic control over communities, regions and states.)
FASSTT agencies hold that torture is a systematic violation of human rights which is, and must remain, unacceptable under any circumstances.
- International Justice Resource Center, Torture, available at www.ijrcenter.org/thematic-research-guides/torture/.