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Latest News
Michael Gawenda


former editor of The Age and former refugee from Poland
Michael Gawenda is one of Australia’s best known and most distinguished journalists. His story begins in Lodz, Poland, where his mother and father worked in the city’s thriving textile industry. When Germany invaded Poland in 1939, his parents, who were both Jewish, were forced to flee to Siberia with their two daughters. It was not until the war ended in 1945 that they were able to return to their home, hoping to be reunited with the families they had left behind. They were devastated to discover that few of their family members had survived.


Who Are Refugees?


the numbers behind global displacement

The number of people displaced by persecution and conflict as at 31 December 2014 was estimated by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) at 59.5 million – 38.2 million internally displaced persons, 19.5 million refugees and 1.8 million asylum seekers. Of the 19.5 million refugees, 14.4 million were refugees under UNHCR’s mandate and 5.1 million were Palestinian refugees under the mandate of the UN Relief and Works Agency.[i]


Photo credit: UNHCR / H. Caux / February 10, 2012
Monthly Bulletins


regular updates on issues and policy

RCOA’s monthly e-mail bulletins contain the latest news and information about our work, developments in refugee and asylum seeker policy, events, resources, opportunities and media coverage on refugee and asylum seeker issues.


Photo credit: UNHCR / T. Szigeti / September 1989
Bright Ideas


wonderful initiatives for refugees and asylum seekers

Bright Ideas highlights innovative programs, initiatives and projects developed to support refugees and asylum seekers.

It provides a way to share ideas, success stories and good practice to improve service provision and assist organisations and communities in addressing key issues and challenges.
See the wonderful bright ideas and initiatives


Photo credit: UNHCR

get involved

The Refugee Council of Australia is small, not-for-profit organisation and relies on public financial support
to continue its vital work in research, education and advocacy. Donations to the RCOA are tax-deductible.

To make a online donation by credit card using our secure donations system.

Who are asylum seekers?

An asylum seeker is a person who has sought protection as a refugee, but whose claim for refugee status has not yet been assessed. Many refugees have at some point been asylum seekers, that is, they have lodged an individual claim for protection and have had that claim assessed by a government or UNHCR.

The number of displaced people in the world at end of 2014.

total number of
displaced persons
worldwide, 2014


number of refugees
resettled in Australia,


proportion of world’s
asylum applications received
by Australia in 2014


country hosting
most refugees (2014):

Keeping you informed with the news

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