Australia to offer refuge to Yazidis

Updated: 2014-08-14 09:57


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Australia to offer refuge to Yazidis

Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, who fled the violence in the Iraqi town of Sinjar, flash signs as they take part in a demonstration at the Iraqi-Syrian border crossing in Fishkhabour, Dohuk province August 13, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

A spokeswoman for said "the minister and his department are closely monitoring the situation and considering options under the offshore humanitarian program to assist the victims of this crisis. "

Australia's Special Humanitarian Program, announced in the budget, has allocated 20,000 places over five years for what the government describes as the asylum seekers "most in need of protection."

Morrison's spokeswoman said 1,000 places went to Syrian refugees last year.

The Howard government in 1999 provided temporary asylum in Australia for about 4,000 Kosovars forced into refuge by vicious fighting in the Balkans.

Labor's Immigration spokesman Richard Marles has welcomed the inclusion of Syrian and Iraqi refugees fleeing Islamic State militants.

However, Marles said the 13,750 places in Australia's annual humanitarian intake is too low and it should be returned to Labor' s target of 20,000.

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