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Red Cross Urges All New Zealanders to Welcome Refugees


18 June 2014

Red Cross Urges All New Zealanders to Welcome Refugees

New Zealand Red Cross is marking this year’s World Refugee Day by encouraging people to extend a warm welcome to all refugees in their communities.

The theme of this year’s celebrations, which will be marked at a Parliamentary event tomorrow, Thursday, 19 June, is “Haere Mai: A New Beginning for Refugees in New Zealand.”

The Minister of Immigration Michael Woodhouse is hosting the event, which features speeches from former refugees, as well as from representatives of New Zealand Red Cross and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Chair of the New Zealand Red Cross Refugee Advisory Committee Jerry Talbot says New Zealand has a proud history of refugee resettlement stretching back to the Polish refugees settled at the end of WWII.

“Red Cross was involved then and is proud now to play an important part in resettling refugees and seeing them welcomed into their new communities. We ask you all to join with us today and welcome the new residents of New Zealand.”

Mr Talbot says New Zealand Red Cross has just signed a new contract with the Ministry for Social Development to roll out a new employment programme Pathways to Employment across its five resettlement locations. The programme aims to help former refugees find meaningful and sustainable employment.

World Refugee Day on Friday 20 June comes against a backdrop of ongoing crises in Syria, South Sudan, Central African Republic and now Iraq. More than 2.8 million people have so far fled Syria alone, @NZRedCross facebook.com/newzealandredcross

and worldwide, eight people are forced to flee their homes every minute to escape conflict or persecution.

Communities around New Zealand are this week joining together to honour the courage, strength and determination of the women, men and children who are forced to make such journeys.

Mr Talbot has paid tribute to Red Cross Refugee Services staff and the 600 volunteers who support former refugees in the community every year.

“For you this is not just a job. It is your motivation and passion for the things you do that gives expression to building a caring world and a welcoming community,” he says.


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