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Immigration Minister Captured By Bureaucrats

13 February 2001

Graham Capill
Party Leader

Christian Heritage Leader, Graham Capill, is very concerned about the Minister of Immigration’s hard-line attitude to the plight of a group of Chinese Indonesians, seeking permanent residence in New Zealand.

“The humanitarian stance of Pastor Carl Jukes of the North Shore New Life Church in Auckland, stands in sharp contrast to Ms Dalziel’s choosing to take refuge under the UNHCR umbrella. I thought New Zealand was a sovereign state,” Mr Capill said.

“After three years here these people are effectively threatened with forcible expulsion, despite the problem being the inept way their applications have been processed.

“Initial inquiries suggest that they would have qualified for refugee status when they applied three years ago, but because of the delay in processing their refugee claims, the situation has changed vis-à-vis Indonesia – but in no way as suggested by the Minister.

“Why should these people suffer because bureaucrats were slow to process their applications and the Minister of Foreign Affairs is trying to stitch up a trade deal with the Indonesians? Such self-interest is an indictment on New Zealand.

“These are law abiding, hard working and God fearing people who fled Indonesia three years ago in the face of growing cultural and religious persecution.

“It is well-documented that there is ferocious, widespread persecution of Christians in Indonesia. Many have been killed, many terrorised, thousands have fled into the jungle and thousands forced to convert to Islam or face execution.

“In the Moluccas Islands alone, over 5000 recently have been forced to convert to Islam and many Christians women made to marry Muslim men.

“The last National administration thought the whole issue too hard, and left the immigration authorities sitting on the case. The current Labour/Alliance Minister of Immigration indicated during the last election campaign that she would review the case favourably. The Wellington establishment has now captured her too.

“Ms Dalziel, taking her cue from UN inertia, appears to think that it is perfectly in order to suggest that those Chinese Indonesians currently seeking New Zealand residency, should return to Indonesia without qualms. They then have the option, according to her ill-informed judgment, to make application to come back to New Zealand, going through the usual process. What Ms Dalziel offered today was a measly sop suggesting common decency towards this genuine refugee group would create an undesirable precedent. And this at a time when the same Minister supposedly wants to relax immigration criteria.

“The Party is looking into legal remedies to help these people. In particular, the Party is researching whether Indonesia was on the UNHCR lists at the time the applications were filed and whether the Minister therefore has a duty to process them as per the status of Indonesia at that time, as she does for every other application. Christian Heritage has the utmost sympathy for all those suffering such barbaric treatment,” Mr Capill said. “Not only so,” he concluded, “But it is uncomfortably near home.”

Contact: Party Leader Graham Capill, Direct Line: (03) 352 6720 or (021) 661 766

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