US border crisis: New Zealanders call on US Embassy for investigation into the treatment of asylum-seekers

1 August 2019, 16:12 UTC |

As the US government continues to detain children and separate families seeking safety on the US-Mexico border, a petition from New Zealanders is being handed to the United States Embassy at 3pm in Wellington today (2/08/19).

The 3,247-strong petition calls for the US Government to launch an investigation into the unlawful and inhumane conditions at detention facilities and to pass legislation to end this intentional cruelty. The signatures have been collected in the short space of just over two weeks in July. 

Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand spokesperson Margaret Taylor says the petition reflects that New Zealanders, and many around the world, are mobilising on the issue.

“This is ultimately about championing the basic values that we hold dear; of fairness, common humanity, and freedom. The US government continues to violate those values. Today we’re standing with all the children and adults affected. We will continue to work to uphold the rights of people seeking safety, many of whom have already had horrific life experiences but still hold hope for a better future.”

But she says the situation on the southern US border is worsening.

“US immigration policies are causing disastrous consequences for people seeking protection and a safe home to live. The human rights abuses are escalating as the Trump administration continues its crackdown. People who have been forced to flee extreme violence are being treated as criminals, or worse. Five children have died in custody at border control facilities, which are anything but nurturing.”

Ms Taylor says there is hope in global action and people around the world adding their voice to the cause.

“It’s inspiring to see how many New Zealanders have gotten behind this petition on a topic so far away from home. Amnesty International is delivering their voices to the US Embassy today, saying clearly; we care about the tens of thousands of people, including children, who are caught up in this mess. It’s time for transparency, accountability and an end to this deliberate abuse.”

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