New Zealand must honour refugee promises

14 May 2020, 05:01 UTC |

Following concerns New Zealand won’t meet its Resettlement Quota of 1,000 refugees by June this year due to COVID-19 restrictions Amnesty International is asking what contingency plan the Government will develop to ensure it meets its humanitarian commitments in future years.

Amnesty International Advocacy and Policy Manager Annaliese Johnston says she hopes New Zealand will honour its promises as the future for people seeking refuge is unknown.

"It’s devastating. Some people are waiting up to 17 years for a new, safe place to call home and COVID-19 poses huge risks to vulnerable people in refugee camps. We definitely need to make sure that any loss to those numbers is made up in future years."

Annaliese Johnston, Advocacy and Policy Manager Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand

Johnston adds there is also an opportunity to re-affirm New Zealand’s offer to welcome 150 refugees trapped in Australia’s cruel offshore detention regime.

"New Zealanders are appalled by how the Australian Government treats people seeking refuge and there are still hundreds of people stuck in limbo in crowded and dangerous detention facilities in Papua New Guinea, Nauru and mainland Australia. We maintain hope they could be re-homed here under our Quota when it becomes safe to do so."

Annaliese Johnston, Advocacy and Policy Manager Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand