WORLD Vision chief executive and church minister Tim Costello has warned against discriminating against Muslims when Australia takes a one-off intake of 12,000 Syrian refugees.
Speaking on ABC Radio this morning ahead of the Federal Government’s intake announcement and commitment of additional $44 million in humanitarian funding, he also said more money was needed as “we’re running out of food, conditions are desperate, people therefore are fleeing”.
“The world hasn’t funded the Syrian refugee crisis adequately,” he said.
Mr Costello, who was guest speaker at a RE/MAX Extreme breakfast at Joondalup Resort last week, said the Syrian refugee crisis was four years old.
He said the image of a little boy washed up on a Turkey shore had resonated around the world and with Australians.
“That pierced the bubble of our indifference,” he said.
“For four years this crisis has been going on: 250,000 dead and four million refugees outside Syria, 12 million inside… living with fear, with bombing.”
He said “don’t put a religion restriction on the intake” when Australia processes refugees.
Oxfam welcomed the Government’s “u-turn on compassion for refugees” but said it was disappointed it had not gone further.Oxfam acting chief executive Pam Anders said the Government’s announcement was a bold move in the right direction and reflected the depth of public sentiment.
“Given this country’s prosperity, as one of the richest nations on earth, we can and must do more,” Ms Anders said.
“When you look at the scale of the problem, with 60 million people forcibly displaced from their homes globally, you can’t help but be struck by the fact that we need to do everything we possibly can to help.”
People can support Oxfam Australia’s Syria Crisis Appeal by calling 1800 034 034 or visiting www.oxfam.org.au