12 Month Amnesty for All Pacific Island Overstayers
MANA MEDIA RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
25 November 2011
Mana Will Call for 12 Month Amnesty for All Pacific Island Overstayers
MANA’s immigration spokesperson James Papali’i says MANA will be calling on whomever governs after tomorrow’s general election to immediately put in place a 12 month amnesty against deportation for all Pacific Island overstayers.
Mr Papali’i says 150 to 200 people representing all the nations of the pacific islands attended a meeting in Mangere last night at which MANA outlined its policy to restore dignity to the people of the Pacific Islands by treating them in the same way those from Australia.
He says the emotional response from those present was over-whelming with speakers from the floor detailing case after case of trauma and hardship as people live in terror of being deported for no other reason than that they have been here too long.
“These are law abiding citizens who are being treated in the most appalling manner as they are rounded up, often with their children born here, and deported without trial or good cause. This action itself causing scars and memories that will perhaps never be erased.
“New Zealanders were shocked in the 1970’s when they learned of police under the Muldoon government swooping on families in the so-called ‘dawn raids’ and dragging Pacific islanders from their homes but it’s going on again, perhaps the only difference now is that it’s going on throughout the day and into the night as well.
Mr Papali’i says since MANA raised the plight of the overstayers a week ago there has been a massive outpouring of thanks from Pacific Island communities that at last someone is standing up and making an election issue out of a humanitarian disgrace.
“While no one can put a figure on the number of people who are being forced to live their lives in fear and suffering the horror of deportation, it has become obvious this is far wider than a few isolated instances.
“MANA is determined to ensure through action
both inside and outside of parliament that the plight of
these people is no longer ignored.”
Mr Papali’i says a 12 month moratorium on the deportation of overstayers would allow an end to discrimination against pacific islanders to be negotiated.
“It would allow people to apply for permanent residency and to become New Zealand citizens with many of them qualifying automatically due to the length of time they have been living here already.”
“It would put an end to many of the elderly being thrown out of New Zealand to live out their lives isolated from loved ones.
“It would put an end to children many who have actually been born here being uprooted from their extended families and friends and sent to places where they will be without the educational opportunities that they as children of New Zealand should expect.
“And it will allow Aotearoa, once seen as a champion of human rights, to hold its head high internationally which it cannot do while the inhumane treatment of overstayers continues.”