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Amnesty urges NZ government to open its heart for Syrians

Jun 12th, 2015 | By | Category: Lead Story, News

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OPEN HEART: Last Saturdays photo action. SOURCE: Colin Egelbrecht

WELLINGTONS Amnesty International group has joined growing calls for the New Zealand Government to take in more refugees.

Amnesty members gathered outside Parliament to take part in a photo action called “#OpenToSyria.”

A photo action is an event where people take a photo holding signs referring to the refugee crisis.

Amnesty International believes this is one of many ways people can take action on an issue.

Right Side image

SOURCE: Amnesty International

The current campaign was launched in March as the Syrian refugee crisis began to escalate.

Anita Harvey from Amnesty International New Zealand says they have done over 800 photo actions since the campaign began.

Grant Bayldon, the Executive Director, says they want get the New Zealand Government to double the refugee intake.

“The Government is due to set the numbers for the next three years, next year, so we know it’s under review,” he says.

Currently New Zealand accepts 750 people a year and another 50 are accepted as asylum seekers and then claim refugee status.

He says this is a tiny number compared to total immigration which is close to 50,000 people annually

“New Zealand can’t expect other countries to step up, countries that are on the border of conflict zones to keep their borders open, if New Zealand isn’t prepared to do their fair share,” Grant Bayldon says.

New Zealand currently ranks 87th in the world when it comes to refugee intake.

“There really is no other indicator that New Zealand would accept being 87th on anything else, we wouldn’t accept it for education and we shouldn’t accept it for refugees,” he says.

All the photos taken at various photo action events will be put into a book to be given to the Minister of Immigration, Michael Woodhouse.

More photo actions can be viewed here.

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is a multimedia journalism student at Whitireia School of Journalism.
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