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Celebrating extraordinary New Zealanders

Celebrating extraordinary New Zealanders – World Refugee Day 20 June 2014

The Human Rights Commission encourages all New Zealanders to recognise the significance of World Refugee Day and the journeys thousands have gone through before they were able to call New Zealand home.

“You don’t need to be born here to call New Zealand home: for 70-years more than 30,000 people forced to flee their homelands have built a home and a future for their families here,” says Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy.

“Most of us will never know what it’s like to flee our home never knowing if we will see our loved ones again but many New Zealanders from Poland, Hungary, Greece, Cambodia, Somalia, Rwanda and Iraq have done just that. We pay tribute to these extraordinary, everyday people. We celebrate their resilience, courage and incredible contribution to New Zealand."

The United Nations Refugee Convention has protected millions of people since its inception after World War II. Dame Susan says while Kiwis are generally a fair minded bunch, this isn’t always the case and everyday racism and stereotypes still exist.

“Every single person who comes to New Zealand has a unique story to tell, hopes and dreams to fulfil and that deserves respect. The journey to get here isn’t the end - it’s just the beginning,” said Dame Susan.

“We have a reputation across the world as a nation with a high realisation of human rights and it’s up to us as individuals whether or not we live up to that reputation.”

Links:

Events: http://pacific.scoop.co.nz/2014/06/world-refugee-day-to-be-observed-throughout-new-zealand/

Engage online: World Refugee Day NZ: https://www.facebook.com/pages/World-Refugee-Day-New-Zealand/123603470994240

World Refugee Art Day http://www.hrc.co.nz/newsletters/diversity-action-programme/te-punanga/2014/06/world-refugee-day-art-day-2014/

People’s Coffee Cafe Newtown http://www.eventfinder.co.nz/2014/world-refugee-day/wellington

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