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We can help refugees

We can help refugees

30 January 2017

New Zealanders can help fight the United State’s ban on refugees, says the organisation representing New Zealand's international aid agencies.

The Council for International Development is calling on the New Zealand government to publicly repudiate the United State Government's ban on refugees, and accept more refugees to New Zealand.

CID's Director, Josie Pagani, says New Zealanders who oppose the United State government's ban should take action today by donating to, volunteering or contacting local aid agencies.

"New Zealanders can help.

"The best thing you can do is donate to aid agencies that work with refugees, or offer to volunteer and help. These agencies help get refugees here and then support them to face the challenges of settling in. Condemnation is not enough. If New Zealanders really oppose the United States' ban, donate today or offer to help. It’s something every one of us can do. Words and frustration are not enough.

"New Zealand should announce an immediate increase in refugees, as other developed countries are, because refugees fleeing countries like Syria are some of the most vulnerable people in the world. The refugee ban affects people who are fleeing extremism, war and devastation at home. It affects Muslims who have resisted IS, and it affects Yazidis and Christians too. A five-year-old Iranian boy was detained at an airport in the United States this week. This is not about danger. Innocent people persecuted by IS cannot be sent back to horror.”

Refugees are referred to countries like the United States or New Zealand by the UNHCR, the United Nation’s Refugee Agency and have all gone through extensive vetting to make sure they pose no threat.

"The New Zealand government should make a public statement of opposition to the United States' ban, and commit to defend the rights of any affected people in New Zealand. New Zealanders from Iraq, Iran, Syria, and other countries affected by the US ban may be denied entry to the United States.

"We should be a voice for global respect for the rule of law. New Zealand has always been in the front line of defending the principles of international justice and compassion, and hasn’t hesitated to make tough calls on the Security Council recently to promote resolutions that protect humanitarian workers in conflict zones, and condemned the Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory. The US ban on refugees is a breach of international law," Josie Pagani says.

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