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

 


New Zealand Should Up Refugee Quota and Remove Barriers


New Zealand Should Increase Its Refugee Quota and Remove Racial Barriers


Syrian Solidarity New Zealand (SSNZ), with reservations, welcomes the recent government announcement to accept 50 Syrian refugees per year over the following two years within the existing refugee quota. However, New Zealand could be doing more to support the protection of Syrians if it removed its race-based barriers to Middle Eastern refugees and instead subscribed to the humanitarian priorities of the United Nations. SSNZ also urges New Zealand to increase its overall refugee settlement quota similar to that of other resettlement and asylum states.


We are greatly concerned that the offer of such a small number of places is the result of current government policy that takes a discriminatory approach towards refugees from the Middle East and Africa. We are also troubled at the New Zealand governments minimal commitment to New Zealand’s International Humanitarian obligations as reflected in New Zealand’s comparatively low and stagnant refugee quota.


Recently, the UN made an appeal to Western nations to take 30,000 Syrian refugees of the 2.3 million Syrians refugees in what is now being described as the greatest humanitarian crisis of our century by the United Nations. Many countries have pledged to help fulfil this quota with the USA welcoming several thousand, Germany committed to 10,000, and Moldova the poorest country in Europe and far smaller than New Zealand has accepted 50. Sweden, in addition to a quota of 1200, have offered unlimited asylum to Syrians who make it there. So far 23,000 have applied.


According to the UN Global Trends report, refugees in New Zealand make up only 1% of the population compared to a world average of 3.4% and our closest neighbour Australia 2.3%.


Irrespective of our refugee quota, being geographically remote means the pathway of asylum, which makes up a large proportion of the overall refugee intake for other countries, is largely absent in New Zealand. The only source of refugees in New Zealand is through the UN quota.


In 2009 the current New Zealand Government implemented a ban on new resettlement refugees coming from the Middle East and African countries. The decision to bring 50 Syrian refugees per year, over the next two years is granted as an exception to the regionally focused refugee policy of the National government. The government preference is for refugees from Asia and the Pacific and Syrians can only enter by way of this small number of places designated “emergency” places.


Picking and choosing where to take refugees from and making blanket exclusion of whole categories of refugee from Middle Eastern and African regions is contrary to International humanitarian policy and practice and the priorities of the United Nations. It also sends a very negative message to Middle Eastern and African Kiwi’s.


Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey have borne the brunt of the Syrian refugee crisis. The World Bank estimates that by the end of 2014 Lebanon, who has a comparable population to New Zealand, will be hosting refugees totalling 37% of the population. While New Zealand is geographically further away and largely protected from refugee movements it could be doing much more than 50 places a year to help alleviate both the suffering of Syrians and overstretched neighbouring countries.


We urge the New Zealand government to:

1. Reassess and increase NZ’s refugee quota in line with other countries so that New Zealand is carrying our fair share of the international humanitarian responsibility.

2. Immediately remove the policy that implements racial barriers to refugee resettlement in New Zealand. The main policy for resettlement must be the priority needs of refugees, as suggested by the UN, not a policy of racial preferences.

3. Create refugee pathways for Syrians who have family members in New Zealand and don’t qualify under regular refugee family reunification categories.


Syrian Solidarity wishes that the conflict in Syria comes to an end soon and that the Syrian people finally achieve the freedom, dignity and self determination they deserve. We thank everyone for their understanding and support.


[ENDS]

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Issue 49: Werewolf Weekender

Philip Matthews: From The Lost Continent
It’s a case of better late than never for Olivier Assayas’ marvellous After May/Apres Mai, which first screened at Venice in 2012, had a couple of North Island screenings last year during the International Film Festival’s “Autumn Events” season, got a theatrical release in Australia – but not here – and only now appears on DVD, after Assayas himself has moved on. More>>

The Complicatist: Blue Eyed & Soulful
For a while in June, the top two singles on the US Billboard charts featured Iggy Azalea, an Australian model turned hip hop performer. To some, this may seem like just the latest chapter in a long saga of whites ripping off black culture, while enriching themselves in the process. Obviously, there’s some truth in the stereotype. Yet it can also obscure the positive collaborations – in jazz, soul music and hip hop – between musicians who treated each other as creative equals, race regardless. More>>

Satire: Carry On Captaining
Oh hello. Scanner Technician Davis. To what do I owe the pleasure?
You think we’re what?
Oh, pish. This vessel has been travelling along smoothly for generations – particularly smoothly in the last few years though I say so myself – and I happen to know we have never once been hit by an asteroid... More>>

 

Parliament Today:

False Electoral Return: John Banks Sentenced To Community Detention, Community Work

“The conviction of John Banks today is another sad chapter for John Banks and the ACT Party”, says Labour candidate for Epsom Michael Wood. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Rise Of ISIS And Labour

While global attention got distracted by the fate of MH17 and the atrocities in Gaza, the world’s other mega ‘bad news’ story – the rise of ISIS-led fundamentalism in Iraq – has reached a tipping point. More>>

ALSO:

Rebuild: Christchurch City Council Releases Milestone Report

The Cameron Partners report says the Council may need to find an additional $783 million to $883 million by 2019... Options Cameron Partners proposed include increasing rates, borrowing more, maximising insurance payments, and freeing up capital from its commercial assets. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Today: Parliament Adjourns

The 50th Parliament has adjourned for the final time. After the completion of the adjournment debate, MPs left for the campaign trail with Parliament to be dissolved on August 14 ahead of the September 20 election. More>>

ALSO:

Novopayout: Government-Owned Company To Take Over School Payroll

After lengthy negotiations, the Ministry of Education and the existing school payroll provider, Talent2, have settled both on the amounts payable by Talent2 towards the costs of remediating the Novopay service and a new operating model for the school payroll system. More>>

ALSO:

Employment: Labour Will Raise Minimum Wage, Restore Work Rights

A Labour government will raise the minimum wage $2 an hour to $16.25 and restore work rights to ensure the benefits of economic growth are shared fairly by all New Zealanders, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. More>>

ALSO:

Police: Crewe File Review Released

No new evidence has come to light implicating any specific person as being responsible for the murders of Jeannette and Harvey Crewe... The review identifies there is a distinct possibility that Exhibit 350 (the brass .22 cartridge case) may be fabricated evidence, and that if this is the case, that a member of Police would have been responsible. More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf Issue #49: Gordon Campbell Interviews Laila Harre

For 25 years, Labour and National have been in virtual agreement about the basics of economic policy, and differed mainly on how to go about managing its social consequences. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news