Refugees settling in Palmerston will be welcomed to their new home with open arms after Council signed an official Refugee Welcome Zone declaration in 2013.

In a first for the Northern Territory, the City of Palmerston joins 84 other councils around Australia in recognising the contribution refugees make in the community, while also committing to upholding the human rights of refugees.

The Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) awards the Welcome Zones to councils based on their commitment to welcome refugees into the community, uphold the human rights of refugees, demonstrate compassion for refugees and enhance cultural diversity.

Council recognises the important role refugees play in the local community. By signing the declaration Council is committing to playing an important role in helping refugees to integrate into our society through a number of community programs and initiatives.

The plight of many refugees is incomprehensible to most of us living in the first world - by committing to becoming a RCOA Welcome Zone I'm hoping we can help make life a little easier for those refugees who now call Palmerston 'home'.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 2012 over 15 million people were forcibly displaced, becoming recognised refugees. In the same year, almost over 6,000 refugees were resettled in Australia.

As part of the 2013 Palmerston Festival, Council organised a Global Fair in Goyder Square to celebrate the City's cultural diversity. The same year the City also hosted one of the world's most recognised refugees, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.

More information on the Refugee Welcome Zones can be found on the Refugee Council of Australia website.