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World Refugee Day to be observed throughout New Zealand

World Refugee Day to be observed throughout New Zealand

Events will take place throughout New Zealand next week to mark World Refugee Day on 20 June. Multicultural New Zealand welcomes this demonstration of support for refugee resettlement.

We will be promoting the policies for refugees and asylum seekers that we are currently raising with political parties in the lead-up to the general election.

Our vision is that New Zealand, as a responsible global citizen, honours its commitments under the Refugee Convention, treats those who seek asylum here with dignity and justice, and plays its part, through the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees, in offering settlement to refugees who have fled their homelands for fear of persecution.

Our policy proposals are that parties commit to the following:

• Repeal the provisions introduced by the Immigration Amendment Bill 2013 relating to mandatory detention and discriminatory procedures so that asylum seekers who arrive by boat are treated the same as other asylum seekers in accordance with the Refugee Convention.

• Progressively increase the annual refugee quota from 750 to 1,500 and base selection on humanitarian and protection needs and not geopolitical considerations.

• Provide sufficient resources for the full implementation of the New Zealand Refugee Resettlement Strategy within the term of the next government.

• Provide asylum seekers and reunified family members with the same degree of settlement support as quota refugees, as foreshadowed in the New Zealand Refugee Resettlement Strategy.

• Recognise refugee background students at tertiary institutions as an equity group alongside Māori, Pacific Islanders and students with disabilities.


Activities scheduled for World Refugee Day include the following:

Parliament: Minister of Immigration Hon Michael Woodhouse and Red Cross Refugee Services will host a lunchtime event at Parliament on 19 June in honour of world Refugee Day, with guest speaker Thomas Albrecht, the Regional Representative for Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Auckland: The Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre and the Auckland Refugee Community Coalition invite you to join them on Saturday June 21 at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre, 251 Massey Rd, Manger East, to commemorate the journey of all former refugees and celebrate the contribution these communities make to New Zealand. The programme begins at 10.30 am and will include speakers, music and dance performances from former refugee communities, art displays and ethnic food and drinks. The final of the inter-community World Refugee Day football tournament will also take place from 3.00 pm.

Hamilton: The Waikato Refugee Forum invites you to the opening night of a photo exhibition for World Refugee Day at the Agora Café in Frankton at 6.00 pm on 20 June. The title of the exhibition is “Take a Walk in my Shoes” and is about the Refugee Journey. The exhibition will have two sorts of photos; the first part will be photos from UNHCR of Syrian, Malian and Sudanese refugees with the most valuable item they brought with them when they fled. The second part will be photos taken in Hamilton by a kiwi photographer of refugees who have resettled in New Zealand.

Taupo: Friends of the Taupo Library invite you to The Changing Face of Taupo, acknowledging immigrants and refugees in Taupo, Taupo Library, Thursday 19 June. Soup and rolls available from11.30am.

Palmerston North: Red Cross Refugee Services invite you to Refugee Journeys to celebrate their Refugee Volunteers. Sample the delights of Burmese and Bhutanese refreshments and music. Listen to the heartwarming story of a Karen Bhutanese family in Palmerston North and learn about the “Lost Boys of Sudan”. Celebrate with the Red Cross Volunteers as they receive their certificates.

Wellington: Changemakers Refugee Forum invites you to a celebration of Wellington’s refugee background communities at Kilbirnie Park and Poneke Club Rooms on Sunday 22 June at 12.00 pm. Includesa women’s soccer match and music, dancing and food. Free buses from the Hutt and Porirua.

Nelson: Red Cross Refugee Services invite you to a fundraiser screening of Memories of Bhutan, a Nelson filmed documentary, at 5.30 pm on Monday 23 June at the Free House, 95 Collingwood Street. The documentary describes life in Bhutan from the perspective of six Bhutanese elders who now live in Nelson.

Christchurch: Hagley College and the Canterbury Refugee Council invite you to an event on Friday 20 June at Hagley College Cafetaria from 6.00 pm t0 7.30 pm. The event will focus on the experiences of resettlement and integration of refugee youth in Christchurch.

Day of Prayer for Refugees and Migrants: Caritas and Christian World Service are encouraging parishes to observe a Day of Prayer for Refugees and Migrants on 22 June with specially prepared resources.


ends

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