Message from Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, to the AUSTCARE Seminar, Canberra 28-30 August 1975
It gives me great pleasure to extend my warmest greetings to all the participants in this Seminar and to pay a sincere tribute to the members of AUSTCARE for having initiated the Seminar in Australia, a country which has shown unfailing interest and support for the cause of displaced persons. Australia has made a major contribution to the task of providing international assistance to refugees, notably through its liberal admission of European refugee migrants, large numbers of whom have been able to start life anew as full members of the Australian community and more recently through the settlement opportunities provided to uprooted persons from Chile and from Indochina. As participants in this Seminar may well be aware, permanent homes are still urgently required for the latter group and the welcome support of the Australian Government and people remains indispensable.
Australia has made, and continues to make, a considerable financial contribution to UNHCR's activities, not only to its traditional programme of assistance to refugees throughout the world but also to the special humanitarian operations undertaken in recent years.
In this connexion I would like to pay special tribute to AUSTCARE for its outstanding efforts in raising funds for refugee assistance. To carry out its programmes UNHCR relies exclusively upon voluntary contributions, whether from governments or from the private sector. This aspect of AUSTCARE's activities is therefore of special importance to my Office. I understand that the funds collected by AUSTCARE this year have again reached a very high level and it gives me great pleasure to extend to all of you warmest congratulations for this achievement.
The participation of AUSTCARE in the work of UNHCR is not, however, limited to financial support and my Office is highly appreciative of the role played by AUSTCARE in promoting and sustaining public concern for the cause of refugees.
I am particularly glad to note that the vital task of legal protection of refugees has also been included on the agenda of your Seminar. As I am sure you will all appreciate, this is an aspect of UNHCR's functions that calls for constant vigilance and unrelenting effort.
My representative in Australia, Mr. Frank Bauman, and the Deputy Director of the Protection Division of my Office, Mr. John Kelly, will be addressing your Seminar and will, I know, be pleased to provide information on any of the various aspects of UNHCR activities in which you may be interested.
Please accept my sincere wishes for the full success of your Seminar and for your future endeavours for the benefit of refugees.