People seeking asylum should be welcomed, not imprisoned.
Warning: This petition contains discussions of distressing mental health experiences and violence (including sexual violence).
“Please take me to a safe place” were the desperate words of a young man pleading to be released from prison in Auckland. After fleeing danger in his home country, he thought he would finally be safe in Aotearoa. Instead, he was arrested, detained in a police cell and then imprisoned solely on immigration grounds. The worst part? He was only released after his refugee status was recognised...seven months later.
His experience is not a one-off. Alarming findings from our new report highlight that from 2015-2020, 86 people seeking asylum have been locked in police cells and prisons around the country while they await the outcome of their refugee claim, despite the United Nations warning that it should not take place.
We all deserve to be treated with care, dignity and humanity – and to have our human rights respected.
Detaining people seeking asylum in criminal justice facilities is not only contrary to international human rights standards – it completely lacks compassion. The continuation of this harmful practice in Aotearoa also represents a failure by our government. There are adequate alternatives to prison that are not being utilised or properly funded.
You can help create change by taking urgent action now.
Call on Minister of Immigration – Hon. Kris Faafoi – to end the use of criminal justice facilities to detain people seeking asylum & to implement the recommendations laid out in our report.