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The global refugee crisis and New Zealand’s role

The global refugee crisis and New Zealand’s role


For most Kiwis, the refugee crisis occurring halfway round the world seems literally a distant issue.

The international community is bending under the pressure of the massive movement of people now known as the global refugee crisis, as wealthier countries struggle to integrate the millions of refugees crossing continents and oceans. This has provoked an array of reactions from host countries, ranging from open welcome to open hostility.

With the global refugee crisis at its highest level since World War II, there is public debate about how to handle this urgent situation.

In this upcoming UC Connect public lecture, the University of Canterbury will hear from Abbas Nazari, a UC Political Science postgraduate, currently studying International Relations.

Nazari was only seven when he became one of 438 Afghan refugees at the centre of an international incident when the captain of the Norwegian freighter MV Tampa rescued them from a small distressed fishing vessel off the Australian coast.

“This current crisis strikes a chord with me, being a former refugee from Afghanistan, arriving in New Zealand in 2001, and living and working here ever since, I can relate to those people boarding boats hoping to find new hope, new opportunities on foreign shores,” Nazari says.

Nazari will give his personal and academic perspective on the perilous risks people take reach to a place of refuge.

“New Zealand, this country we all love and cherish, is a nation of migrants; everyone living here is a migrant or a descendant of one. We have to look at what we’re doing, what policies we have in place and whether that’s appropriate. So whether our refugee quota, our public policies, our government and our actions are adequate by international standards,” he says.

This lecture shall also discuss New Zealand's refugee policy amidst the global response, with experts from Red Cross and local refugee groups in attendance for the public Q&A session to follow.

UC Connect public lecture, The global refugee crisis and New Zealand’s role, 23 March, 7pm, Ilam campus of the University of Canterbury.

Please register to attend: www.canterbury.ac.nz/ucconnect

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