The Government must resource our humanitarian systems to uphold human rights
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL AOTEAROA NEW ZEALAND
28 March 2023
Government must resource our humanitarian systems to uphold human rights
The Government has a change to immigration legislation that risks causing harm to people seeking asylum in Aotearoa New Zealand.
"This change in legislation risks undermining the rights of people seeking refuge in this country," said Lisa Woods, Campaigns Director at Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand.
"It appears that the Government is pushing through these changes because it is worried that the current system cannot deal effectively with the possible arrival of larger numbers of people seeking asylum. In that case, the solution is to equip its border and legal systems with the resources they need to ensure that all people are treated fairly and in a way that upholds human rights. Instead, what the Government is doing is adjusting the rules in a way that deprioritises human rights. This sends a worrying message and sets a dangerous precedent for future changes to the law.
Our message is clear - the Government must uphold all rights for people seeking refuge and they must create a system that can do so in a fair and timely way.
"The fact that some people seeking asylum could be detained in prisons is simply unacceptable. Just last year, the to stop using prisons to detain people seeking asylum. Yet today, the Government has stated that prisons may still be used under this Bill. This is a particularly harmful practice that should be abolished, according to Victoria Casey KC and the UN.
"People seeking asylum have often lived through unspeakable suffering at the hands of authorities. Our message is clear - the Government must uphold all rights for people seeking refuge and they must create a system that can do so in a fair and timely way," said Woods.
The introduction of the new Bill comes at a time when Government has abandoned plans to progress other important legislation, such as laws related to the .
"It is frustrating that the Government is trying to pass new legislation for an event that they themselves describe as unlikely, when we know that there are other areas where urgent action is needed. The Government must get its priorities in order if it wants to live up to its commitment to human rights," said Woods.