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Humanitarian Program

Latest news

RCOA’s Latest Media Release –
25 February 2015

Baseless attacks on the Australian Human Rights Commission and its President, Professor Gillian Triggs, serve only to distract attention from protecting vulnerable children under Australia’s care.


Never Again: Let’s End the Detention Of Children Once And For All

More than 200 Australian organisations and community groups have combined to sign a joint statement to end the detention of children once and for all.


Briefing on the Asylum Legacy Caseload Bill 2014

RCOA has reviewed the Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendments (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014 [the Asylum Legacy Caseload Bill].


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

Global forced displacement reached an 19-year high in 2013, with the number of people displaced internally or as refugees currently higher than at any time since 1994.

At the end of 2013, there were 51.2 million people forcibly displaced by persecution and conflict. Of these, 16.7 million were classified as refugees: 11.7 million under UNHCR’s mandate and 5 million Palestinian refugees under the mandate of the UN Relief and Works Agency.

Another 33.3 million people were displaced within the borders of their own country and 1.2 million people were seeking asylum.


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.


total number of
displaced persons
worldwide, 2013


number of refugees
resettled in Australia,


proportion of world’s
asylum applications received
by Australia in 2013


country hosting
most refugees (2014):

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