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NCWNZ’S Stand On Envirnomental Refugees

Thursday 8 November 2007

NCWNZ’S Stand On Envirnomental Refugees

In their oral submission on the Immigration Bill the National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) raised concerns about the status of environmental refuges needing to enter the country.

NCWNZ is concerned to know about briefing papers to the government advising it against granting refugee status to environmental refugees.

In August 2006, NCWNZ submitted a remit to the International Council of Women (ICW) which was adopted as ICW policy it states that the ICW calls upon all its national councils to urge their governments to review immigrations conditions and procedures to accommodate potential environmental refugees, urge their governments to plan for ways in which environmental refugees may be integrated into other localities with input from those communities affected.

“Approximately 25 million people worldwide are displaced either because of war and persecution or nature disasters that range from famines to earthquakes and because of these kinds of circumstances the government needs to rethink its policy on environmental refugees,” said NCWNZ National President Christine Low.

The recommendations that NCWNZ put forward to the select committee are:
That the definition of refugees not be limited to the out of date Convention on the Status of Refugees.

Prepare legislation to address the issue of environmental refugees under the Immigration Act via the current consultation on this Immigration Bill.
That New Zealand supports the redrafting of the Convention on the Status of Refugees.

That New Zealand consider recalculating the current immigration quota schemes to provide greater time for integrating refugees or migrants into New Zealand life.

“It is NCWNZ’s desire that New Zealand show global leadership in this area, especially in context of climate change and the predicted impact on low lying areas in the pacific region,” concluded Christine Low.


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