AUSTRALIA SLAMMED BY SECURITY COUNCIL FOR REFUGEE STANCE

Ashleigh Pisani for THE GUARDIAN

After a last minute change in topic, members of the SAMUNC 2014 Security Council furiously debated the issue of the settlement of refugees from Libya in this morning’s session.

Opinions flew fast and furiously across the room, with several nations clear on their desire to ensure greater protection and assistance for those fleeing conflict zones.

The United States said more needed to be done about the refugee crisis and that it was an essential component of addressing terrorism in the Middle East.

Australia often seemed to be the lone dissenting voice and although they acknowledged there was a growing need to protect refugees or as they termed it “stem the flow” they clearly articulated that at this stage they were unwilling to act.

This prompted condemnation from several of the other nations on the Security Council.

Nigeria was the most dismissive of Australia’s position and almost seemed to be mocking the island nation for their approach at one stage saying, “Come on Team Australia, we believe in you!”

While China called on Australia to step up and accept their international responsibilities.

“What will happen to the vulnerable refugees in Iraq, Syria and Libya?” the Chinese delegate asked.

However, Jordan expressed similar concerns about the number of refugees from Libya and Syria they were receiving.

Although according to the UNHCR, they have received an estimated 1.2 million refugees as a result from the political shocks in Syria and Libya.

Australia on the other hand hosted less than 35,000 in 2013.

Nevertheless, the issue is sure to continue to be debated.

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