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Susan Devoy urges New Zealanders to stand up for the refugee

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy urges New Zealanders to stand up for the refugee.

“Let’s replace the barbed wire of refugee camps with our own No. 8 wire mentality. Let’s be there for some of our planet’s most vulnerable children, families and people,” she said.

“If there was a World Cup for nations that provide homes and hope for refugees and asylum seekers: New Zealand wouldn’t even qualify.”

Speaking at the National Refugee Resettlement Forum that opened in Wellington today Dame Susan says she is proud New Zealand has taken in and supported more than 30,000 refugees over the years.

“But I also know we can do better. New Zealand’s intake of refugees has remained the same since 1987,” said Dame Susan.

“And with 33 million displaced people in the world – most of them children - New Zealand has the capacity to accept more refugees, it’s part of our responsibility as a global citizen.”

“For a country that’s renowned for punching above our weight on the world stage: when it comes to taking in refugees we lag behind the rest of the world.”

Dame Susan said change depends primarily on the will of everyday people: which is why everyday New Zealanders need to take a stand and call for a rise in New Zealand’s refugee quota.

“Most of us will never know what it’s like to flee our home, never knowing if we will see our loved ones again. Most of us will never know what it’s like to survive a war in our own homeland, or put our lives on hold as we wait for another country to give us a new home,” said Dame Susan.

“My plea today is for Kiwis to start punching above our weight not just in sport: New Zealanders need to start punching above our weight when it comes to compassion, kindness and most of all, humanity.”


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