1 September 2015

Iceland’s show of generosity towards Syrian and Iraqi refugees has placed pressure on the Australian Government to do more to address the growing humanitarian crisis in Syria and Iraq, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.

This follows 10,000 Icelanders who spoke up on Facebook saying they would offer housing, plane tickets and toys to refugees fleeing the IS crisis in Syria and Iraq.

“Iceland is punching well above its weight with this demonstration of human kindness,” ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton said.  “For a country whose population and GDP is far less than ours, they are really putting us to shame.

“Almost 20,000 ACL supporters have signed a petition calling on the Government to accept more refugees from the crisis.

“Australia’s annual humanitarian intake should at least be doubled to help the victims of religious persecution.”

Mr Shelton said ACL was frustrated that victims fleeing Islamic State terror could not be considered eligible for refugee status in Australia because they had not yet crossed a national border.

“There is too much inflexibility in our system,” Mr Shelton said, “these people are fleeing death, we should stand with Iceland and other nations who have increased their humanitarian intake.”

Mr Shelton renewed calls for the Australian government to adopt a response similar to the Howard Government’s ‘Kosovo solution’, which offered temporary asylum for people affected by that conflict.