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Tuesday, 21 May 2019 02:21 am

Write, voice, or video your call for more refugees

long picture ACROOS THE TOP

STAND UP: Members of Amnesty International, Wellington East Girls College students and double the quota supporters pose for a photo opportunity at the event.

KIWIS now have a place to have their say about New Zealand taking more refugees.

Human Rights Day yesterday was used for the launch outside Parliament of a website, OurVoices, where people can make submissions.

Wellington East Girls College students were part of the action handing over colourful banners  on behalf of students from around the country.

The banners carried the message to double the quota of refugees.

“It should be Human Rights Day every day,” Abby Robertson, a senior student from Wellington East Girls College says.

At the banner handover yesterday, Amnesty International chief executive Grant Bayldon said OurVoices is a place for people to submit their messages to Parliament about the refugee quota.

Mr Bayldon said he wanted to create an open space for people to send a clear message to the government, whether it was a written, audio or video message.

The website will be open for submissions until 5pm February 5, 2016.

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FLYING BANNER: from left to right; Jan Logie, Steffan Browning, David Shearer hold up a Double the Quota banner at the event.

On 15 February 2016 Amnesty International will host a public hearing in Wellington for submissions, giving people the opportunity to submit in person.

Early next year the Government will make a decision on the refugee quota, which Amnesty hopes will be doubled.

The New Zealand refugee quota has not increased since it was introduced in 1987.

“Currently the annual refugee quota is just 750, and it hasn’t changed in almost 30 years. Perhaps 30 years ago this was an acceptable number, but today 750 just isn’t enough,” Mr Bayldon said.

He says often the best decisions are made when you seek input from lots of different voices.

“We want to hear from teachers and business leaders, from refugee community leaders, from faith communities, from students, mums, dads, grandparents and neighbours.

“We can’t stand by while so many other people internationally need our support, it’s time to amplify our voices and remind the Government that we do care about the plight of other people world-wide.”

Amnesty handed over banners to National MP Chester Borrows.

Mr Borrows says he is pleased with the steps that have been made towards raising the refugee quota.

“I would like to see the quota radically change,” he says.

Mr Borrows says the public needs to be frequently reminded of these issues and not just let them be a flash in the pan.

All too often Kiwis go on overseas holidays and don’t think about them being a third world country, he says.

“Today is Human Rights Day, it’s a day to celebrate our rights, but in a year that has seen the worst global refugee crisis in 70 years we can’t forget the plight of those children, women and men who are fleeing war and persecution and seeking safety,” Grant Bayldon says.

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is a multimedia journalism student at Whitireia School of Journalism.
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