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Asylum Seekers: PM Calls For International Action

9 September 2001 Media Statement

PM Calls For International Action On Asylum Seekers


Prime Minister Helen Clark today expressed concern about the continuing flow of asylum seekers attempting to land in Australian territory from Indonesia.

Helen Clark said that New Zealand's decision to take up to 150 asylum seekers is unchanged.

"It is clear that the issue of asylum seekers from Afghanistan and elsewhere is a problem that has to be elevated to the broader international level. It is not one which New Zealand, Australia or Indonesia can solve on their own or jointly.

"New Zealand is calling for a fresh international approach to the problem of asylum seekers from Afghanistan and the huge problem of refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced people worldwide.

"The latest estimate is that 22.5 million people fall into these categories.

"It is important that at the next session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, which is shortly to begin, the world's attention is focussed on this mass flow of people who face at best uncertain circumstances in their homeland and at worst death and destruction.

"Until there is a greater determination by the entire international community to address these problems, more crises like that presented by the people on the Tampa are bound to develop," Helen Clark said.


Ends

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