Amnesty calls for more on World Refugee Day

Caring organisations around Aotearoa New Zealand will be holding fundraisers and community hui this weekend to mark World Refugee Day 2021.

As COVID-19 pushed pause on essential global refugee programmes, Amnesty International is calling for a re-prioritisation from Government of its Refugee Quota system, of the Community Sponsorship of Refugees programme, and for an end to its practice of placing people seeking asylum here in criminal justice facilities.

Amnesty International Executive Director Meg de Ronde says that whilst it is welcome that the Refugee Quota system has resumed, there is more to be done.

"We would like to see a tangible plan from Government that shows an effort to make up for the missed families who haven’t been able to come here under our Quota system or the Community Sponsorship of Refugees programme due to COVID-19. We know the global refugee situation has only worsened and those families who’ve missed out are still waiting in limbo with unknown futures ahead. They are seeking refuge from violence; they deserve solace and an opportunity to rebuild their lives free from persecution."

De Ronde says some people who have sought asylum in Aotearoa New Zealand are still ending up in criminal justice facilities despite an Amnesty International report showing multiple human rights breaches in the process.

"The report clearly established the Government repeatedly violated the human rights of people seeking asylum. We found that at every stage; at the border, the police cells, to prison itself, that the Government failed to ensure basic rights to a fair process. The system is flawed, and as our report shows, causes further harm. This practice of sending people seeking refuge to criminal justice facilities must stop."