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New Zealand Red Cross celebrates World Refugee Day

New Zealand Red Cross celebrates World Refugee Day

New Zealand Red Cross is celebrating the contribution former refugees have made to their new communities this World Refugee Day and appealing for more to be done to address the global humanitarian crisis.

Celebrations kicked off on Thursday with an event at Parliament House. The lunch was hosted by the Immigration Minister, Michael Woodhouse, and featured speeches from United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) regional representative, Thomas Albrecht, plus former refugees Christian Damba and Yibeth Morales.

The event celebrated the contribution former refugees have made to New Zealand through their communities, work, and culture.

“Here at Red Cross we see people who arrive as refugees diversifying and contributing to our society on a daily basis,” said Niamh Lawless, Secretary General of New Zealand Red Cross.

“We feel privileged to be part of the welcoming committee for former refugees and we’re pleased that communities have joined us in providing a friendly welcome to their new neighbours.”

World Refugee Day comes just a week after UNHCR released the 2018 Global Resettlement needs.

Of the more than 21 million people who are registered as refugees, UNHCR says that 1.2 million of them urgently need resettlement. Less than 8% of them will be resettled in 2018.

“We’re facing an unprecedented global humanitarian crisis with millions of people worldwide forced from their homes due to conflict and persecution,” said Ms Lawless.

“We know Kiwis are keen to do what they can to help, people approach us every day wanting to volunteer, donate, and learn more about what they can do down here at the bottom of the world.

“Now more than ever, New Zealand’s contribution to refugee resettlement is vitally important. It’s wonderful that our quota is set to increase to 1,000 for the first time since the 1980s, however, our refugee intake needs to reflect the global humanitarian need.”

World Refugee Day is an international United Nations observance dedicated to raising awareness of the situation of refugees throughout the world. It’s celebrated on 20 June each year.

To find out more about refugees in New Zealand and how Red Cross supports their resettlement, please visit www.redcross.org.nz/refugee


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