Refugee Week 2014 focuses on restoring hope for displaced people
Multicultural Affairs Minister Zoe Bettison will today launch the start of Refugee Week at an event at the Kerry Packer Civic Gallery at the Hawke Centre.
Ms Bettison said this year's Refugee Week theme - Restoring Hope – focusses on the aspirations of people fleeing persecution.
"While a refugee's journey invariably starts with danger, it also starts with hope – hope to find freedom and safety for themselves and their families," Ms Bettison said.
"Australia plays an important role in offering protection, opportunities and a promise of a better future for refugees.
"Refugee Week is an opportunity for the community to learn more about the stories of the various refugee groups and encourage a welcoming culture."
The United Nations estimated that as at December 2012 there were 45.2 million people displaced by persecution and conflict.
According to the Department of Immigration and Border Control, some 800,000 refugees and other humanitarian entrants have arrived in Australia since the Second World War.
In South Australia, the top countries of origin for refugees are Afghanistan, Iraq, Myanmar, Bhutan and Congo, with between 1500 and 2000 refugees settled in SA each year.
"These newly arrived refugees have been forced from their homes, and fled their homelands because of religious, ethnic or political persecution," Ms Bettison said.
"They must learn a new language, navigate a new culture and connect with government systems to help in their settlement, to find work, a home and realise their dreams for a better life.
"South Australia is a richer place for the contributions of our many strong multicultural communities, many of which have refugee origins.
"I hope that South Australians embrace Refugee Week and attend as many events as possible."
There are more than 50 events in South Australia celebrating the week. Activities include sporting competitions, exhibitions, lectures, storytelling and movie screenings.