Family Party Open Letter To NZ Immigration
PRESS STATEMENT FOR RELEASE
22 March 2008
Open Letter From Paul Adams To NZ Immigration Regarding Refugee Status For Miss Bahareh Moradi
• Mary-Anne Thompson, Department Secretary,
• Clayton Cosgrove, Minister of Immigration,
• Darren Hughes, Associate Minister of Immigration
• Christopher Blake, Head of Department of Labour
I write as the Deputy Leader of The Family Party and as a Christian Minister in support of a request by Mr. Rinny Westra, Minister of St. Aidan’s Presbyterian Church, Northcote (North Shore), who is seeking to prevent the deportation of one of his church members (Miss Bahareh Moradi) back to Iran – currently set for 24th or 25th of March.
As a former Member of Parliament, I am deeply concerned to recently learn of the impending deportation of Miss Bahareh Moradi back to Iran. It would appear, on the surface, quite a bizarre situation that she should face deportation and potential death whilst three of her brothers and their families have already been granted refugee status and are living in Auckland.
We accept that conversion to Christianity is still a crime in Iran, punishable by death. Miss Moradi’s deportation is tantamount to a death sentence. Clearly, this is a view shared not only by Miss Moradi and her family, but also those New Zealanders, including her pastor, who know and provide support to her.
Mr. Westra has testified to the genuineness of Miss Moradi’s Christian faith to the Refugee Status Appeals Authority in December 2007, but apparently his testimony – as a minister of the Church in good standing within the Presbyterian denomination - was not accepted.
Furthermore, we understand that there is an appeal date set for the RSAA decision in July this year. Recently, Mr. Westra was informed that a hearing (held last week), for an injunction against the deportation until the appeal could be heard, had been unsuccessful. Clearly, if she were to be deported within the next week, she would have effectively been denied the right to fair and due process on this most critical matter.
Apart from the risks Miss Moradi faces in Iran, there seems to be a basic injustice here in New Zealand to allow deportation to take place when there is an appeal scheduled.
Zealand is blessed with a significant Christian heritage. If
there were ever a country that would uphold and defend Miss
Moradi’s right to life and freedom of religious choice
coupled with a fair and compassionate response - it would be
our country. Indeed, it’s something of an irony that, what
could be her final weekend in New Zealand is that which
formally recognizes the centrality of the Christian faith in
our national calendar – Easter weekend.
With the support of her family and her local church, Miss Moradi places no burden on the New Zealand social welfare system.
Therefore, because of the significant risks to Miss Moradi’s life should she be returned to Iran, I urgently request your intervention to prevent her pending deportation until the appeal can be heard in July.