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Immigration Minister joins calls for refugee sponsorship

18 July 2018

NZ Immigration Minister joins international calls for community-based refugee sponsorship

Amnesty International welcomes the joint statement made this week by Immigration ministers from around the world committing to advancing community-based refugee sponsorship.

The statement, signed on to by Ministers of Immigration representing New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Argentina and Spain encourages other countries to join them in offering a warm and supportive welcome through community-based refugee sponsorship programmes. It comes in advance of the 2018 United Nations General Assembly and agreement on the Global Compact on Refugees, which will strengthen international responses to the global refugee crisis.

Community-based refugee sponsorship allows individuals, communities, and organisations to directly engage in refugee resettlement efforts. It runs in addition to government-led quota systems; the difference is that individuals and community groups are responsible for providing support to the new refugees as they settle into life.

“We welcome that Minister Iain Lees-Galloway is joining a growing cohort of Immigration Ministers internationally who recognise the opportunity of community sponsorship,” said Meg de Ronde, Campaigns Director at Amnesty International New Zealand.

“New Zealand prides itself on being a generous country. With community sponsorship, we'll be able to pitch in to do more to solve a global problem where over 22.5 million people are currently refugees. The New Zealand Government should be applauded for being part of this innovative programme that is flourishing globally.”

A pilot community sponsorship programme is currently running in New Zealand in 2018, but the government hasn’t decided whether to continue it. Under the pilot, 21 new refugees recently arrived in New Zealand and will be supported by four community organisations from around the country.

“The pilot programme is a great first step towards this international momentum for community sponsorship, but we need to make sure it becomes an annual pathway tobring more refugees to safety,” said de Ronde. “We are hopeful that this joint statement is a sign of things to come."


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