World Refugee Day

  • Lianne Dalziel

The government is proud of its association with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and acknowledged the first World Refugee Day, Immigration Minister Lianne Dalziel said today.

"World Refugee Day is being marked today by a number of events around the country where refugees have resettled over time.

"New Zealand takes up to 750 UNHCR mandated refugees every year (including immediate family members) under the Refugee Quota Programme.

"I think it's appropriate to also recognise the excellent work that the UNHCR undertakes in respect of individuals who have suffered persecution and forced into displacement from their homelands.

"It is a real tragedy that there is still a demand for the work done by UNHCR and co-operating countries such as New Zealand, but the supportive work within New Zealand should be recognised.

"This is an ideal opportunity to pay tribute to the organisations that assist with the resettlement of refugees in New Zealand. In particular, I want to commend those who volunteer their services to help with the resettlement process once refugees arrive in New Zealand."

The government has shown its own commitment to the resettlement of refugees through the establishment of a refugee sub-group which provides community based advice to the Immigration Minister on refugee resettlement policy, and the allocation of $560,000 in the last financial year to resettlement support services for refugees.

This year's budget contained a funding boost for refugee resettlement services – an additional $350,000 a year, beginning during the year 2001-2002 to enable non-government agencies to provide extra support services for UN mandated refugees and their families resettling in New Zealand.

There has also been a commitment to fund volunteer training and support, housing assistance, interpreter services, information and advice, and assistance with refugee family reunification applications.