'It has not been easy for organised world opinion in the United Nations or elsewhere to act directly in respect of some of the dreadful events which have driven so many people from their own homes and their own fatherland, but at least we can in the most practical fashion show our sympathy for those less fortunate than ourselves who have been the innocent victims of conflicts and upheavals of which in our own land we have been happy enough to know nothing.'  - Robert Menzies, Prime Minister, during the opening of World Refugee Year, September 1959 The United Nations proclaimed 1959 ‘World Refugee Year’ urging member states to continue to focus on the refugee problem, make additional financial contributions and encourage further humanitarian solutions for refugee settlement. The year began in June 1959 with 52 countries participating, this number increasing to 72 countries and 6 territories by the end of 1959. At the beginning of 1959, there were still 132,000 non-settled refugees in Europe. As part of the World Refugee Year, Camp Clearance programs were implemented with the aim of helping 21,000 refugees, many of whom had lived in refugee camps for 10 years or more. Australia’s gesture towards helping to resettle those still living in camps resulted in the announcement of special schemes for the admission of handicapped refugee families and a revision of the upper age limit governing the admission of refugees and migrants.

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