Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand welcomes comments by Associate Minister of Immigration Phil Twyford yesterday affirming the Government’s commitment to implementing the recommendations from Victoria Casey QC’s report, which calls for an end to the use of criminal justice facilities for detaining people seeking asylum.
As work progresses, it’s important that civil society is closely involved, that the implementation plan identifies clear timelines, and that we can be confident no more people who claim asylum in Aotearoa New Zealand are incarcerated in a prison. As the report says, long term detention of refugee claimants in Corrections facilities is wrong at every level.
Amnesty International also welcomes the Safe Start and Fair Future report launched last night at Parliament. The report, a collaboration between the Centre for Asia Pacific Refugee Studies at the University of Auckland and the Asylum Seeker Support Trust, seeks to change current policy settings that result in inadequate support for people seeking asylum and differential treatment between Convention Refugees and Quota Refugees. We welcome comments by Minister Twyford that the report will be taken on-board, and urge full commitment to all the recommendations in the report.
There is a common saying: "How a society treats its most vulnerable is a measure of its humanity." Those who flee atrocities and make it to Aotearoa New Zealand are some of the most structurally marginalised people in our community. The Government’s acceptance and commitments yesterday are extremely positive developments. Now is the time for action, so that we can all be proud of the measure of our humanity as a nation.