The Green Party welcomes the long overdue deal to resettle 150 refugees held unlawfully in Australia’s prison islands here in Aotearoa - but says the resettlement should be in addition to the existing refugee quota.
“Today we celebrate New Zealand as a place where fairness and compassion prevails,” says Green Party Human Rights and Refugee spokesperson Golriz Ghahraman.
“We thank all the activists, community groups, and human rights defenders on both sides of the Tasman, who pushed and will continue to push for freedom of the refugees trapped on Manus Island and Nauru. You have demonstrated the strength of our common human spirit.
“People escaping war, torture and persecution based on their religion, race, and political activism deserve a place to call home. They deserve protection but for so long have been denied their rights. By treating refugees with compassion and dignity, we give them the best chance to rebuild their lives in our communities.
“While we are delighted that Aotearoa New Zealand’s long-standing offer to resettle refugees from Australia is finally being fulfilled, it is only happening within our annual intake of 1500 refugees.
“The Green Party is calling on the Government to resettle refugees from Manus and Nauru in addition to the existing quota. We should do everything we can to protect people seeking safety and provide every opportunity for them to rebuild their lives where it’s safe.
“New Zealand’s refugee quota has not been filled for two years now because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Extending the offer to resettle refugees and ensuring the quota can be met in full is an important way we can acknowledge the worsening plight of refugees in Ukraine and Afghanistan.
“We welcome wholeheartedly the refugees preparing to travel to Aotearoa from Manus and Nauru. We know it has been a heart-breaking journey. Know that you will soon be free, your humanity will be recognised, and you will have a safe home to put down roots.”