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New Zealand says welcome to refugees

New Zealand says welcome to refugees - #RefugeesWelcomeNZ

Nationwide vigils - Thursday 10 September - 6.00pm

This Thursday thousands of New Zealanders will gather around the country at candlelit vigils where they will have a moment of silence for the innocent lives lost and light candles for the additional lives that could be saved if the government acts immediately to double the refugee quota.

At each event, which are being organised by a number of organisations and community groups, 750 candles will be lit for the lives that could be saved. There will be 60 seconds of silence for the 60 million people displaced right now due to war or persecution.

The announcement by the government on Monday that New Zealand will take in 750 Syrian refugees, 600 under an emergency intake, is a welcome, although overdue step, but doesn’t go far enough in addressing the worst humanitarian crisis in 70 years.

“Amnesty International believes that if the government is serious about addressing this issue and saving lives then they should be asking how much, not how little, we can do to help refugees. Doubling our refugee quota is the least we can do after 28 years without an increase,” said Grant Bayldon Executive Director at Amnesty International.

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, according to UNHCR.

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“More than 15,000 ActionStation members have added their name to the call to double New Zealand’s refugee quota, and thousands plan to attend vigils on Thursday night,” said Marianne Elliott National Director of ActionStation. “Their call is for New Zealand to do our bit for people fleeing war and terror, and their message is that refugees are welcome in New Zealand.”

“It is great to see such spirit from everyday New Zealanders caring about the refugee crisis. We as New Zealanders have an obligation to ensure that people seeking protection are provided not only the immediate but also long-term support that they require. This can only happen with the wider sector coming together,” said Tayyba Khan, CEO of Changemakers Refugee Forum.

For a full listing of events visit

EVENT: NZ is open to Refugees
DATE: Thursday 10 September, 2015
TIME: 6.00pm
LOCATION: War Memorial
The Auckland Domain, Parnell,
Auckland 1010

EVENT: NZ is open to Refugees
DATE: Thursday 10 September, 2015
TIME: 6.00pm
LOCATION: Parliament Building
Molesworth Street, Pipitea,
Wellington 6011

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