Refugee Week 2019 – Behind the News


Hi, Mum. Do you need a hand at all? Yeah, sure do. I’ll just get the garlic ready
for you. EMMA: This is Marwah
and her mum, Halia. They live here in Australia, but Halia was actually born
in Afghanistan. Um, my family –
Mum and Dad and siblings – we migrated to Pakistan, um,
because of the Soviet invasion. We went to school there. We had good friends,
good neighbours. When she was 10,
Halia came to Australia as a refugee. A refugee is a person who has been
forced to leave their home country because their life
has been threatened by war, violence or bad treatment, often because of their race,
gender or beliefs. Usually, they can’t return home
or are too afraid to go back. According to the United Nations, there are around 25 million refugees
around the world and most of them come
from these five countries. Why did your family want
to leave Pakistan? Your grandparents decided
to leave Pakistan so their children –
us, me, my siblings – could have a better future
in Australia, in terms of education,
in terms of safety, and just a mental
and physical wellbeing. There have been refugees
throughout history, but it was after the two world wars
that countries agreed to work together to look after them. In 1950, the United Nations
started a special agency, the UNHCR, with the job of protecting people who have been forced
from their homes. One year later,
it created the Refugee Convention, a document which outlines
what a refugee is, what rights they have, and what governments have to do
to protect them. Since then, more than 140 countries
have signed up. They help by giving money or aid
to the UN’s refugee program, and many, including Australia,
also take in refugees to give them a safe place to live. How did you leave Pakistan? We were sponsored by family members
to migrate to Australia. We were interviewed by the embassy, we did our health checks, and then we were granted a visa to migrate here
with your Bibi, Ahga, two of your uncles, and your aunty. Halia has been in Australia
for a long time, so she’s not a refugee anymore. A person stops being a refugee
when they become a resident or citizen in a new country, or if their home country
becomes safe and they can return. Halia became an Australian citizen, and Marwah is an Australian too
’cause she was born here. I’m really happy
that you moved to Australia. Absolutely, darling. It was the right decision
that your grandparents made. The life that you have here
is secure, your education is good,
and we are blessed to be here.

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