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Erica Stanford's Double Standards on Special Humanitarian Visas Questioned

Immigration Minister, Erica Stanford MP's, double standards on special humanitarian visas, is being called out by People for Palestine at the East Coast Bays National Party AGM with nonviolent protest.

Fourteen days after the Russia-Ukraine war began, Erica Stanford criticized the then-Labour government for not issuing humanitarian visas.

The Minister for Immigration stated on March 9 2022 “Desperate Ukrainians in New Zealand have been unable to rescue wider family members because Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi has not created a visa pathway to let them come to New Zealand” [i].

Minas Al-Ansari, speaking for Kiwi Palestinians with family in Gaza explains, “Right now, our families are being killed and we are helpless to save them. One member of our community has lost 120 members of their family. If Erica Stanford, this National-led government had granted special humanitarian visas early, as was done for Ukraine, there is absolutely no doubt lives would have been saved.

“Every day that goes by more people are dying. Our children, our elders, our people, have a Right to Life as defined by Article 3 of the International Declaration of Human Rights."

Twenty days after the Russia-Ukraine war began, the Labour government created a special visa category for families of Kiwi Ukrainians. Israel is 155 days into an unprecedented military onslaught on the Gaza Strip and the International Court of Justice has ruled that Israel is plausibly committing genocide.

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Spokesperson for People For Palestine, Bronwyn Cotter states, “As a New Zealander and a mother, I am horrified by the atrocities we are witnessing in Gaza and am astounded that Erica Stanford as Minister of Immigration and this government are refusing to grant special humanitarian visas which would save lives.

“Erica Stanford is on record as saying the Ministry of Immigration can turn on a dime and create special humanitarian visas. We ask her and her National Party base on what basis has this not been done for the families of Kiwi Palestinians?

"Has she received advice from the public service that is not possible? Has she been advised not to create the special category visa?

"There are only two discernible differences between Ukraine and Gaza: one is the obvious Genocide taking place in Gaza; the other is the ethnic racial and religious background of both people.

"Many Kiwis are horrified at the lack of humanitarian compassion shown by this Coalition Government and the blatant lack of commitment to the principles of law and order they build.

People for Palestine among a wide number of Palestinian community groups have repeatedly tried to communicate with Erica Stanford through every official channel available. The Minister will not respond to emails or meet with Palestinian New Zealanders. The government has not provided a rationale or reason for the inconsistent decision-making or what makes Palestinians unworthy of the special category visa.

For 75 years, the Israeli Apartheid system has committed crimes against Palestinians daily. Most other democratic nations recognise these facts. Entering the sixth month of this latest attack in which Palestinians are being mass slaughtered, displaced and denied basic human rights such as adequate food, clean water, healthcare and shelter, New Zealand needs to show greater conviction with democratic values and the international order. People for Palestine will continue to advocate for special humanitarian visas until we see this government lead with a commitment to equality.

‘This issue is not going away and we are not about to give up,’ states Bronwyn Cotter. “Until Erica Stanford shows some egalitarian humanity, we will continue to hold her to account.’

"What is the Minister waiting for, approval from the Israel and Zionist apologists here in New Zealand? Or is there a fear of racist backlash from her members of her electorate?"

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