Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Fair Approach To Boat Refugees

Fair Approach To Boat Refugees

On Saturday 9 June, a group of Tamil asylum seekers suspected to be heading to New Zealand were intercepted in Indonesian waters by the Indonesian Maritime Police. The group of 85, who have asked New Zealand for asylum, have refused to leave the boat and are currently moored off the port of Tanjung Pinang in the Riau Islands.

Prime Minister John Key said on Monday, that the asylum seekers are “not welcome” in New Zealand and that accepting a boat load of Sri Lankan asylum seekers would “open the flood gates” to "millions of others''. However, this opinion is different to Minister of Immigration Jonathan Coleman who indicated that there was “no concrete evidence” that the Tamil asylum seekers were trying to reach New Zealand.

New Zealand’s geographical position means that it is highly unlikely that boats will reach our shores; an opinion Former Prime Minister and current head of United Nations Development Program Helen Clark agrees "It's a very very long trip from South East Asia or from South Asia, for that matter, to New Zealand over very difficult seas," she told TV3. "So just the sheer logistics."

We, New Zealand Sri Lanka Forced Migrants’ Support Group have been working with Sri Lankan Tamil refugees and assisting them to integrate into New Zealand’s way of life and become productive citizens. There is strong evidence that indicates that Tamils in Sri Lanka are escaping persecution and are often faced with so much danger that they have no choice but to take the boat. The level of desperation is highlighted by the fact that Tamil asylum seekers were willing to travel through rough seas and face danger for the hope of protection from a country will grant them refugee status.

There's a misperception that there is a queue for the 20 million existing refugees and asylum seekers. UNHCR head, Richard Towle said in an interview “the simple fact, there isn't actually a queue, there never has been”

New Zealand is signatory to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees as well as to its related 1967 Protocol. Therefore, we, New Zealand Sri Lanka Forced Migrants’ Support Group (NZFMSG ) urge the New Zealand Government to fulfill their international obligation to properly assess the claims on a case-by-case basis to determine if the 85 Tamil asylum seekers are genuine refugees.

We therefore call upon the New Zealand government to act now and save the lives of the refugees on that boat. We extend our support to the refugees and willing to work with New Zealand government for any assistance.

Nirmalanathan Subramanim President, New Zealand Sri Lanka Forced Migrants’ Support Group

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Sharma Chameleon

Gather round the camp-fire, folks. Let me tell you about the Ice Age era of the fourth Labour government, when mean, sabre-toothed tigers like Richard Prebble ranged at large within the Labour caucus. A being so mean and fierce that - legend has it – he once made Michael Cullen cry. So while Labour MP Dr Gaurav Sharma may (or may not) have suffered cruelly at the hands of his colleagues one thing is clear: former Labour whip Kieran McAnulty is no Richard Prebble. If you can be bullied by the likes of Kieran McAnulty, you might need to have your hand held while you cross the road in the political traffic...


Privacy Commissioner: Public Input Sought To Inform Privacy Rules For Biometrics
Privacy Commissioner Michael Webster is encouraging New Zealanders to have their say on the use of biometric information in Aotearoa New Zealand... More>>

National: Food Prices Climb Taking Kiwis Backwards
Kiwi families continue to battle runaway food prices, National’s Finance spokesperson Nicola Willis says... More>>

Transport & Infrastructure: Have Your Say On The Future Of Inter-regional Passenger Rail In New Zealand

The Transport and Infrastructure Committee has opened an inquiry into the future of inter-regional passenger rail in New Zealand. The aim of the inquiry is to find out what the future could hold for inter-regional passenger rail... More>>

Government: Creating Sustainable Public Transport For All
Workers and public transport users are at the heart of the new Sustainable Public Transport Framework, Transport Minister Michael Wood announced today... More>>

Government: Tax Break To Boost Long-term Rental Supply
The Government is encouraging more long-term rental options by giving developers tax relief for as long as the homes are held as long-term rentals, the Housing Minister Megan Woods has announced... More>>

National: NZ Migrant Arrivals Hit Lowest Mark Since 1990s
Today’s net migration figures show that Labour has failed to deliver the desperately needed skilled migrants they promised, meaning labour shortages will persist into the future, National’s Immigration spokesperson Erica Stanford says... More>>




InfoPages News Channels