Bhutanese Australians in Adelaide celebrated World Refugee Day at a special event organised in Salisbury, South Australia on Saturday, 20 June.
Jointly organised by Bhutanese Australian Association of South Australia and City of Salisbury, the event saw cultural presentations and stories of 20 years in refugee camps.
This year, Australian government announced the refugee would be celebrated to acknowledge the experiences and contribution of former Bhutanese refugees.
It is expected, by end of this year, over 100,000 Bhutanese refugees would be resettled in seven different countries. Of this, some 5,500 have already made Australia their home.
In another event, Australia’s Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton and Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Michaelia Cash hosted an event at Parliament House in Canberra to recognise Australia’s highly successful resettlement of former Bhutanese refugees.
“The Government is very proud that Australia has resettled the third largest group of refugees from Bhutan behind the United States of America and Canada. The Government continues to work cooperatively with our international partners to assist the international effort to support displaced and vulnerable people,” Mr Dutton said.
“The Bhutanese community particularly deserves recognition for building their own capacity and supporting each other to quickly gain employment and independent living.”
“Refugee week is fantastic opportunity to congratulate refugees across Australia who have worked hard to make Australia their new home and it is important we recognise how difficult it can be for someone who is displaced to start a new life in a foreign environment,” Minister Cash said.
“Refugees from Bhutan are a testament to community strength, with most having spent many years in refugee camps. In Australia, they have reached a balance of contributing to the Australian community while maintaining their heritage.”
President of the Association of Bhutanese in Australia (ABA) Sydney, Om Dhungel, said his community’s independent settlement model had been crucial to delivering proportionately higher levels of employment and home ownership compared to other new migrant communities and they now want to share their experience.
“We feel blessed to have the opportunity to live with freedom and equality and our model allows people to quickly settle into Australia with dignity and to avoid reliance on welfare. We also want to share our cherished culture and expertise with the wider Australian community,” said Dhungel.