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Call for New Zealand government to do more for refugees

BELONG AOTEAROA
MEDIA RELEASE
EMBARGOED UNTIL 5AM WEDNESDAY 11 DECEMBER, 2019

Collective call for New Zealand government to do more for refugees globally

Belong Aotearoa alongside leading organisations working in the resettlement (refugee background) sector is calling on the New Zealand Government to play a greater role in responding to the international refugee crisis, ahead of the Global Refugee Forum (Geneva, December 17 – 18, 2019).

The open letter signed by members of civil society, former refugee leaders, resettlement, humanitarian and faith-based organisations calls on the Government to commit to three pledges that will advance the objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees which New Zealand is signed to. The three pledges are:

1. Strengthen former refugee leadership, including youth leadership and capacity, in policy-making;
2. Establish the Community Organisation Refugee Sponsorship category as a permanent and additional pathway in New Zealand’s broader refugee and humanitarian programme;
3. Increase the number of places available per year under the Refugee Family Support Category.

Rochana Sheward, CEO, Belong Aotearoa, said: “Aotearoa New Zealand has a long history of providing a safe home for people seeking refuge from conflict, disaster, persecution, violence and violations of human rights. We may be a small nation, but we have the capacity to have an even greater impact on the international refugee crisis.”

“The Global Refugee Forum is an opportunity to pledge to do more and at the same time enhance the resettlement, integration and inclusion of former refugees in Aotearoa New Zealand,” she said.

“The three pledges will help build an inclusive Aotearoa where resettled communities have positive resettlement experiences, feel welcomed, connected, valued and respected in their new home and have opportunities to participate and contribute meaningfully.

“People from refugee backgrounds bring incredible strengths, knowledge, skills & resilience to this country and their contributions to communities all over Aotearoa New Zealand need to be acknowledged and valued,” Mrs Sheward said.


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