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Students call on the Government to double the refugee quota

10 August 2015

New Zealand students call on the Government to double the refugee quota

As the world faces one of the biggest humanitarian crises of our lifetime students from around New Zealand are taking action, raising their voices and calling on the New Zealand government to do its fair share for refugees and double the quota.

The school students are taking part in Amnesty International’s Freedom Challenge campaign: If I were a refugee, I’d want it for me: Double the Quota!

From creating mock refugee camps in Wellington, to simulating situations refugees face by hosting a ‘suitcase challenge’ in Auckland and creating Welcome Home banners in Hastings, students are aiming to get their communities talking about this issue over the next few weeks and send a clear message to the New Zealand government that they can and should do more.

“Now more than ever before it’s time to save lives by doing our fair share and doubling New Zealand’s annual refugee quota,” said Miriam Pierard, Youth Coordinator at Amnesty International.

“Complacency on this issue is no longer an option and so during Freedom Challenge youth around the country will come together to take action on this important issue to show the Government this is something they care about.”

Despite the global refugee crisis New Zealand accepts only 750 refugees a year through its quota - a number that has not increased for nearly 30 years and ranks New Zealand 90th in the world when it comes to refugee intake per capita.

“Refugees are men, women and children who are simply running for their lives. Here in New Zealand we have a strong history of protecting human rights and being a leader when it comes to humanitarian issues,” said Miriam Pierard.

“Our resettlement programme is a good one, but it's one that needs to be scaled up as currently we are lagging well behind other countries on the number of refugees we resettle. And of course resourcing needs to be matched so all refugees are supported to settle well here.

“Numbers that were set almost 30 years ago are out of step with today’s needs, it’s time for New Zealand to do its fair share and double the refugee quota.”

Every year in the week of International Youth Day, Amnesty International youth groups across New Zealand take actions to raise awareness and bring change on a key human rights issue. Youth events will start on Monday 10 August and take place over the next month.


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