Putting out the welcome mat for refugees

19 June 2018, 09:31 UTC | New Zealand
© Amnesty International

In advance of World Refugee Day on 20 June, Amnesty International laid out welcome mats saying “Refugees Welcome” in Auckland’s Freyberg Square today.

They were joined by comedians Guy Williams and Alice Snedden who helped put out the welcome mats. Both comedians asked passers-by to sign the I Welcome Pledge in support of community sponsorship of refugees.

Community sponsorship is an inspiring new way to help refugees resettle into New Zealand communities. It runs in addition to the government-led quota system; the difference is that individuals and community groups are responsible for providing support to the new refugees as they settle into life in New Zealand. A pilot community sponsorship programme is currently running in New Zealand, but the government hasn’t decided whether to continue it.

"The pilot programme is a good first step, but we need to make sure it becomes an annual pathway to bring more refugees to safety. That’s why we’re asking people to take the I Welcome Pledge."

Meg de Ronde, Campaigns Director, Amnesty International New Zealand

In order to save community sponsorship, Amnesty International is asking people to take the I Welcome Pledge to show the Government the support and potential this innovative programme has across New Zealand.

“The pilot programme is a good first step, but we need to make sure it becomes an annual pathway to bring more refugees to safety. That’s why we’re asking people to take the I Welcome Pledge to show their support,” said Meg de Ronde, Campaigns Director at Amnesty International.

“New Zealanders pride ourselves on being a caring bunch with a can-do attitude. With community sponsorship, we'll be able to pitch in and do our part in solving a global problem where over 22.5 million people are currently refugees,” said de Ronde.

"Now's a good time to sign up and support the I Welcome Pledge, welcoming refugees to New Zealand. I support it...because it's the right thing to do. Believe it or not, we get very few opportunities to do that, and here's one."

Alice Snedden, comedian

Comedian Alice Snedden said, "Now's a good time to sign up and support the I Welcome Pledge, welcoming refugees to New Zealand. I support it...because it's the right thing to do. Believe it or not, we get very few opportunities to do that, and here's one."

Guy Williams added, “I'm very lazy and if I can do this then so can anyone! I think this is a great opportunity, not only to support refugees but to support New Zealand as well.”

“In Canada, this type of programme is practically a way of life. With enough support it could become a way of life here too,” said Meg de Ronde, Campaigns Director at Amnesty International New Zealand.

Show your support by taking the I Welcome Pledge here

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