Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Government Accepts Afghan Interpreters for Protection

RCNZ

www.rc.org.nz

Patron: Judge Coral Shaw

REFUGEE COUNCIL OF NEW ZEALAND
MEDIA RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 25 October, 2012

Government Accepts Afghan Interpreters for Protection

The Refugee Council of New Zealand commends and thanks Minister of Defence Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman, the Cabinet and the New Zealand Government for the decision announced today to accept http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/7863429/Kiwi-homes-for-Afghan-interpreters up to 25 Afghan interpreters and their families for protection and resettlement in New Zealand.

“This is clearly a very positive step just taken by the Government to recognise the genuine and clear need for protection of the loyal interpreters who have provided vital support to our Kiwi troops serving with the Post Reconstruction Team in Bamiyan Province,” said RCNZ spokesperson Gary Poole.

“As someone working in Afghanistan in a humanitarian agency during over 2004-06, I can confirm that the Kiwi troops in Bamiyan were highly regarded and trusted by the local population. The Hazara people were a major group in the province who suffered terrible persecution under the Talibs.”

“Without the security provided by the Kiwi troops, the massive reconstruction of roads, schools and hospitals, which my team was involved with, would have been impossible,” he said.

“Although Bamyan was once one of the more stable provinces, unfortunately over the past year it has become far more dangerous and conditions unpredictable in the period leading up to the withdrawal of foreign ISAF troops. Clearly, this is going to present a major challenge for the Afghan security forces to fill the gap next year.”

“The decision to provide protection and resettlement for up to 25 primary interpreters and their immediate families was most certainly the correct one, said Poole, not only on humanitarian grounds, but also for practical and strategic reasons.

It is very important that countries with forces in Afghanistan do not repeat the terrible mistakes of the past in Viet Nam when all the Western allied forces withdrew and left many interpreters, supporters and collaborators behind without thought of any protection. It is a historic fact that many of them perished or were imprisoned and persecuted, or had to flee as refugees in boats or overland into Malaysia or Thailand.

The practical implications are that people have long memories and if Kiwi troops are again deployed in the future, those who are asked to work with our forces will be prepared to do so, confident that New Zealand will do the right thing by them when the withdrawal comes if their lives and security is at risk. They have helped us and we are doing the right thing by them.

“New Zealand has followed the good precedents set by Canada and other ISAF countries by taking this step. I certainly believe that the United States should be taking far greater steps to protect their interpreters and many Afghan support staff than has been evident so far. Hopefully, the example now set by our Government will motivate them to consider their policies.”

These Afghan interpreters and their immediate families will almost certainly be targets after the withdrawal next March and will meet the international legal definition of refugees in need of protection. “We are also gratified that the Government is leaving the door open on a case-by-case basis for the other interpreters who have served in the past and might be also at risk.”

The Refugee Council of New Zealand is gratified and buoyed by this positive move by the Government and fully supports it as the right decision which will be strongly supported by the public. RCNZ will be ready to support and assist the interpreters and families when they arrive for resettlement.

Web www.rcnz.org

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

South Island Flooding: Focus Moves To Recovery

As water recedes throughout flood-impacted areas of the South Island, Minister of Civil Defence Nathan Guy has praised the efforts of those who were involved in the response to the flooding.

“Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups have acted proactively and decisively to keep people and property out of harm’s way,” says Mr Guy. More>>

 

Employers Pleased: Reports Of Govt Backdown On Low-Wage Immigration

MEA: We are pleased to hear that the Government is planning to review incoming immigration changes with a specific focus on how they will affect the regions. Effectively addressing skills shortages in manufacturing and other sectors needs to remain a core part of our immigration system ... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Ch-Ch-Changes At IRD

Job cuts aren’t happening at the IRD, exactly. Instead, there’s apparently a ‘transformation’ in store, and jobs won’t be axed ; no, they will be ‘transformed’ before our eyes into… non-jobs, if you happen to be among the unlucky legion of 1,900 who are being lined up for transformation... More>>

ALSO:

Christchurch Mental Health: Hospital Too 'Awful' For Reviewers To Visit

Jonathan Coleman has to stop the stalling over a new building for mental health services in Christchurch to replace the quake damaged Princess Margaret Hospital, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark... More>>

ALSO:

Greens Call For Govt Action: Children Sick Because Of NZ Housing

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians president-elect said today that children with preventable respiratory illnesses are being re-admitted to hospital because they're being sent back to cold, damp homes. More>>

ALSO:

Less Tax Cut, More Spending: Labour Launches Fiscal Plan

“Labour will invest $8 billion more in health, $4 billion more in education and $5 billion more for Kiwi families through Working for Families, Best Start and the Winter Energy Payment than the Budget 2017 projections for the forecast period.” More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Greens’ Room For Political Pragmatism

The Greens here are currently being criticized by the commentariat for not making the same kind of pragmatic choices that sunk the Democrats in Australia. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election