Why Young Sri Lankan Refugee Should Stay
Friends of Refugees Trust,
195A Shakespeare Rd,
Milford, North Shore City.
Tel. 09 486 0086 or 09 630 4313.
Sunday 1 February 2004.
Hon. Damien O'Connor,
Associate Minister of Immigration,
cc: Hon. Lianne Dalziel
Rt.Hon. Helen Clark
The Friends of Refugees Trust was formed in 2001 by a group of volunteer support workers trained by the Refugee and Migrant Service to work with a group of UN quota refugees from Burma on the North Shore of Auckland. We formed the trust to raise money for the local Birkenhead Community Church, which has set up English language tuition and other programmes for refugees and new migrants, but has had no ongoing funding other than what it raises from donations. We have also worked with the North Shore City Council and Beach Haven School to help the community from Burma to establish a remarkable terraced community garden in a formerly unused gully behind the school.
Our trust is a registered charity and we do not usually get involved in political issues. However, at our regular meeting today, we resolved to write to you urgently to appeal to you to allow a 16-year-old Sri Lankan girl, XXXXX XXXXX, to stay in New Zealand. We understand from other volunteer refugee workers that this is a unique case where XXXXX was forced to leave her country because of repeated sexual assaults by uncles on both sides of her family. We are proud that she and her grandmother have found protection here for the past two years. We would be devastated if our country were now to force her to go back to a situation of effective sexual slavery.
This case may not be the kind that was considered when the Immigration Act was framed, but surely it is exactly the kind of exception for which appeals to the Minister were provided. In the name of our common humanity, we urge you to show mercy to this young woman.