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29 May 2015 description

Budget Snapshot

Key Headlines:

  • The single biggest cut to Australia’s aid budget since the beginning of the aid program: Almost $1 billion was cut from 2015-16, representing a 20% cut for the year. The budget also confirms $2.7 billion of additional cuts in 2016-17 and 2017-18. By 2016-17, total Australian Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) as a share of Gross National Income (GNI) will fall to 0.22%. This is the lowest ever level since records began.

28 May 2015 description
report Save the Children

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott must send significant representation to join other South East Asian governments in Bangkok this Friday and together find a solution to the people smuggler crisis that risks the lives of thousands of asylum seekers stranded on boats in the Andaman Sea, says Save the Children.

“Australia needs to take this meeting on Friday seriously, and come with real and positive solutions so we can work with our regional neighbours to tackle the issue once and for all,” Save the Children CEO Paul Ronalds said.

27 May 2015 description
report Human Rights Watch

Demand End of Abuses in Burma, Access for Refugee Protection

(Bangkok, May 28, 2015) – Governments gathering in Bangkok on May 29, 2015, to discuss the Southeast Asia boat people crisis should reach binding agreements to save people at sea, permit them to disembark without conditions, and ensure unimpeded access for United Nations agencies to protect the rights of asylum seekers, Human Rights Watch said today.

26 May 2015 description

Northern Hemisphere

China (no update)

As of 13 April, there were 66 cases of dengue reported in China for 2015. Compared with the same period of the previous of 2012 to 2014, the number of dengue cases reported in China has increased slightly in 2015 (Figure 1).

Malaysia

23 May 2015 description

I am pleased to announce that Australia will provide additional support to the long-term recovery of Vanuatu from Tropical Cyclone Pam, the most powerful cyclone ever recorded in Vanuatu.

Cyclone Pam caused severe damage to housing, health centres, schools and other critical infrastructure in affected areas, and to Vanuatu’s key industries of tourism and agriculture.

Australia provided an early life-saving package of more than $10 million, including deployment of disaster response, medical and search and rescue teams.

21 May 2015 description

Phnom Penh, Cambodia | AFP | Thursday 5/21/2015 - 14:00 GMT

Cambodia said Thursday it has agreed to take its first batch of asylum seekers from Australian custody as part of a controversial deal between the countries that triggered widespread international criticism.

Four refugees held by Australia on the remote Pacific island of Nauru will soon be transferred to the impoverished Southeast Asian nation, Cambodia's interior ministry said.

21 May 2015 description

The Australian Government will provide additional humanitarian assistance for people in need in Burma, including vital support to improve security and livelihoods for vulnerable communities in Rakhine state.

This contribution builds on our long-term support to Burma’s economic, political and social reform process, and our commitment to address security challenges in Burma.

It will also undermine the ability of people smugglers to sell the false hope of unsafe boat journeys to neighbouring countries.

19 May 2015 description

The Australian Government has airlifted 1,000 shelter tool kits from UNHRD in Malaysia today, bringing much-needed gear to help Nepalese families rebuild their homes after the devastating earthquake. Also onboard and generously transported by Australia were two forklifts that the World Food Programme (WFP) will use to help manage supplies for the humanitarian community, as they race against the clock to deliver relief assistance before the start of the monsoon rains.

19 May 2015 description

JAKARTA, 19 May 2015 – ASEAN Deputy Secretary-General for Socio-Cultural Community, H.E. Alicia Dela Rosa Bala and Australia's first resident Ambassador to ASEAN, H.E. Simon Merrifield, today signed Amendment No. 6 to the Cooperation Arrangement between ASEAN and the Commonwealth of Australia represented by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on the ASEAN Agreement for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) Work Programme 2010-2015 at the ASEAN Secretariat.

19 May 2015 description

Sydney, Australia | AFP | Tuesday 5/19/2015 - 06:34 GMT

Asylum-seekers are living in mouldy tents with little privacy on the Pacific island of Nauru, with women and children at risk of sexual assault, according to submissions to an Australian inquiry.

The Senate inquiry, which held its first public hearing on Tuesday, is looking into recent allegations about conditions for would-be refugees on Nauru, including of sexual and physical assault.

19 May 2015 description

The Royal Thai Government is organizing the Special Meeting on Irregular Migration in the Indian Ocean on 29 May 2015 in Bangkok. The Special Meeting is an urgent call for the region to comprehensively work together to address the unprecedented increase of irregular migration across the Bay of Bengal in recent years.

18 May 2015 description

129 asylum seekers at the Australian-run Manus Island processing centre in Papua New Guinea have been deemed genuine refugees, and are being offered the choice to live in PNG.

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15 May 2015 description

Quetta, Pakistan | AFP | Friday 5/15/2015 - 04:55 GMT

by Guillaume LAVALLÉE

After losing one of his two sons to the worst attack against minority Shiites in Pakistan's history, Ali was determined for the other to find a new life abroad.

"Go," he told Iqbal Hussain, who left his job and family behind after losing his brother Muhammad Hassan to join thousands of others on treacherous waters in search of hope.

In the Shiite-dominated Mari Abad quarter of Quetta, the capital of restive Baluchistan, each family has tales of death and exile.

14 May 2015 description

Australian media is reporting that four refugees from Nauru have been secretly transfered to Darwin after accepting offers to be resettled in Cambodia.

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13 May 2015 description

Sydney, Australia | AFP | Wednesday 5/13/2015 - 03:02 GMT

Australia's slashing of foreign aid by almost Aus$1.0 billion (US$800 million) will hurt the most vulnerable people in Asia and Africa and damage the country's reputation, aid groups said Wednesday.

In its national budget on Tuesday, Australia confirmed that aid spending will fall by Aus$980.2 million to Aus$4.1 billion in 2015-16 as it looks for savings to rein in its deficit. The Asian region will lose Aus$522.5 million in assistance.