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UNHCR Praises NZ Refugee Quota Increase

The Right Thing To Do” UNHCR Praises New Zealand’s Refugee Quota Increase

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, praised New Zealand today for increasing the country’s longstanding refugee resettlement quota. Speaking in Wellington, Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern formally announced the increase. “This is the right thing to do,” said Ardern. “It fulfils New Zealand's obligation to do our bit and provide a small number of people, displaced by war and disaster each year, a place to call home.”

UNHCR’s Regional Representative in Canberra, Thomas Albrecht, lauded the Government of New Zealand’s efforts, along with the support of the people of New Zealand. “In the context of growing resettlement needs worldwide, this is a most commendable contribution by New Zealand to further increase the protection of refugees,” said Albrecht. “Even more positively, it reflects the warm hospitality and humanitarianism on which the people of New Zealand rightly pride themselves.”

Since 2013, growing numbers of New Zealanders have called for this expansion of the humanitarian intake from its historic 1987 level of 750 to 1,500 refugees annually. Refugees have also made proud and contributing New Zealand citizens for decades. In 2017, Golriz Ghahraman became the first former refugee to be elected to New Zealand’s Parliament.

For refugees who cannot return home, resettlement in a third country may be the only solution to offer them adequate permanent protection and the chance to rebuild their lives. UNHCR resettlement criteria prioritize those in need of greatest support, including women at risk, survivors of violence and torture and unaccompanied children. Under the UN Refugee Agency’s Resettlement Programme, New Zealand accepts refugees for resettlement each year in close cooperation with UNHCR.

With an estimated 1.2 million refugees in need of resettlement in 2018, UNHCR continues to appeal to all countries for greater solidarity with refugees.

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