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Further Protests For Victims of Human Rights Abuse

Further Protests Planned to Support Victims of Human Rights Abuses

Further protests are planned in support of victims of New Zealand’s immigration policy. This follows Saturday’s protest outside Mt Eden Remand Prison in support of Thomas Yadegary who has been imprisoned since November 1st last year - awaiting deportation.

Global Peace and Justice Auckland has written to the Minister of Immigration, Paul Swain, calling on him to order Thomas’s release and pointing out that if he were a white Zimbabwean he would never have faced this situation.

Deportation is planned despite the fact that Thomas has been living in New Zealand for the past 12 years and has contributed to our society over that time as a respected chef as well as in a variety of roles in the wider community. He is supported by his friends, colleagues, associates and members of the Christian community to which he belongs. We have seen nothing to suggest that Thomas is not the honest, honourable, truthful and hard working person asserted by those who know him personally.

The government is effectively keeping him hostage in prison – to be released only if he agrees to being deported to Iran! This is the type of human rights tragedy the government has condemned in many countries around the world in a variety of contexts. It is unconscionable that this should occur in New Zealand.

Now behind bars Thomas is becoming stressed and depressed, getting constant headaches. He is under an enormous amount of pressure both psychologically and emotionally.

Thomas cannot be blamed for the system which led to this horrendous delay in deciding his situation. Natural justice demands he be released from prison and be allowed him to integrate as a New Zealand citizen.

We are aware that there are other people in a similar plight in Mt Eden Prison – such as A Mahebbi, also from Iran, whose young children joined a protest outside the prison yesterday to appeal for his release.

Immigration policy is always an ugly mix of prejudice, political expediency and racism. It’s time it changed.

In the meantime it’s impossible to ignore the simple truth that if Thomas Yadegary and others in similar circumstances were white Zimbabweans they would not be treated as they are now.

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