For release: 16 June 2015

The Australian Christian Lobby today renewed calls for the Australian Government to take urgent action to address the growing humanitarian crisis in Iraq and Syria.

More than 13 million people have been displaced by the ISIL conflict in Iraq and Syria.  ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton said Australia’s response to-date had been inadequate and that Australia should adopt a similar policy to the 1999 response to the Kosovo crisis.

“This is the largest humanitarian crisis the world has seen since World War II,” Mr Shelton said.

“Australia is a peaceful, prosperous, generous and humanitarian country.

“It is time for the government to consider a Kosovo-style response and provide temporary refuge to some of the millions of people who have fled the ISIL conflict.

“While this problem is too large for any one country to solve, Australia ought to be playing its part in providing assistance to people affected by this conflict.”

In 1999 the Howard Government provided temporary refuge for 4,000 Kosovo Albanians in response to the Kosovo crisis.  The arrangement was made separate to Australia’s regular humanitarian and immigration programs.

In 2014, former Howard Government Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock and Labor Whip Chris Hayes visited the Jordanian refugee camps and provided a recommendation to the Australian Parliament that a similar solution to the 1999 Kosovo arrangement was needed to address the Iraq/Syria crisis.

ACL is taking the plight of persecuted religious minorities to the ALP national conference where it is hosting a symposium looking at policy solutions.