29 June 2009

Refugees given Australian citizenship

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Yesterday more than 60 people who came to Australia as refugees become Australian citizens as part of the World Refugee Day Community Festival in Brisbane.

Australian citizenship

A number of refugees were given Australian citizenship in a weekend ceremony.

A Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) spokesman said the people participating in the special refugee ceremony came from Burma, Vietnam, Iran, Iraq, the former Yugoslavia, the Cote d’Ivoire, Sudan, Liberia, Burundi, Sierra Leone and Somalia.

“They are all now taking the final step in their journey and becoming Australian citizens,” the spokesman said.

Alex Morseray from Sierra Leone took the Australian citizenship pledge of commitment on Sunday, as did his wife Josephine and three of their four children.

“Our youngest was born here and is already an Australian. I have been longing to become an Australian too,” Mr Morseray said.

Mr Morseray, who works at the Princess Alexandra Hospital while studying nursing, said he and his family are thankful to now live in a peaceful and safe country.

In this program year, more than 1200 people have settled in Queensland under the humanitarian program, many of them likely to one day complete their journey with Australian citizenship in the years to come.

“Community celebrations such as this provide an opportunity for Australians to focus on our humanitarian commitment and the important contributions refugees make to their new home communities,” the Department of Immigration and Citizenship spokesman said.

“Australia provides comprehensive support systems for refugees and others in humanitarian need and consistently ranks among the world’s top three resettlement countries, along with the United States and Canada.”

The special citizenship ceremony started the World Refugee Day Community Festival, co-ordinated by Multicultural Development Australia.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people emigrating to Australia.

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