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Over twenty-thousand Kiwis sign petition asking Govt to welcome people at risk in Afghanistan to Aotearoa

Hundreds to gather during lockdown to fight for the people of Afghanistan.

Despite New Zealand being in Alert Level 4, Amnesty International Aotearoa, ActionStation and Oxfam Aotearoa will be gathering hundreds of Kiwis together to hand in an over 20,000-thousand strong petition to MP Golriz Ghahraman and MP Phil Twyford. The handover will happen in an online first for the organisations at 3.00 PM on Thursday 26 August via Zoom. The petition came about due to the recent and ongoing situation in Afghanistan.

The petition, that gained the support of over twenty-thousand Kiwis, will be received virtually by Golriz Ghahraman and MP Phil Twyford. It asks the New Zealand government to widen evacuation support from Afghanistan to more people, including those who are particularly vulnerable to attack; to expedite visas, deliver support for evacuations from Kabul airport and provide relocation and resettlement; and finally, to action an immediate pause on the deportation of people to Afghanistan.

Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand Campaigns Director Lisa Woods says that not doing so could have devastating effects on the lives of many Afghan families:

"Right now, people in Afghanistan face a deeply uncertain future. Girls seeking an education. People from ethnic and religious minorities. Human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists. But also so many more people, just like you and I - those who simply want safety and the chance at a fulfilling life with their loved ones."

ActionStation spokesperson Ruby Powell says that while the NZ Government has made commitments to evacuate New Zealand citizens, those who helped New Zealand's forces and their dependents, it's simply not enough.

Executive Director Rachael Le Mesuirer of Oxfam Aotearoa says that the need and the ask will continue beyond this petition:

"At the same time as we raise our voices for the people of Afghanistan, we acknowledge the over 30 million families across the globe, who have had to flee their home and need support in getting to a safe place. We will not stop fighting on behalf of people in crisis situations."

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