New Zealand offers resettlement to hundreds of refugees – The Organization for World Peace

In a landmark decision, New Zealand’s offer to resettle 450 refugees held in Australian detention centers has finally been accepted. Under the deal – which affects people living in temporary processing facilities in Australia or remote island nation Nauru – New Zealand will allow entry for up to 150 people a year for three years. According to The Guardian, there are currently 1,168 refugees in Australia and a further 112 refugees in Nauru who are eligible and will face the same rigorous screening procedures as all other asylum seekers entering the country. Australia has long been criticized for its harsh treatment of refugees due to unsanitary conditions in detention centers and several mental health issues that arise, and as a result many are happy with New Zealand’s response.

Although the island nation is small, New Zealand’s efforts are significant and admirable. Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi said: “New Zealand has a long and proud history of resettling refugees and this arrangement is another example of how we are fulfilling our international humanitarian commitment. We are pleased to be able to provide resettlement outcomes for refugees who otherwise would have continued to face an uncertain future.

The deal has been in limbo for almost a decade due to Australia’s fear that refugees who obtain New Zealand citizenship will use it to settle in Australia under the free movement policy. . Even now, Australia’s Home Affairs Office has issued a stern statement saying accepted refugees from Nauru will never be allowed to settle in Australia:This arrangement does not apply to anyone attempting an illegal sea voyage to Australia in the future. [We] stand firm – illegal sea arrivals will not settle here permanently. Anyone attempting to cross our borders will be turned back or sent back to Nauru.

New Zealand is right to step in and take some of Australia’s surplus refugees. However, this deal should have been done a long time ago – in 2013, when it was first proposed. The suffering of the refugees has only continued since then. Fortunately, they will be supported after they enter New Zealand, mainly by the Red Cross group. There is pressure to put in place additional aid for these refugees due to the long waiting time they face. Australia has a duty to help by providing resources and funding to ensure the smooth transition of refugees whom it has unjustly housed for years in detention centres.

Australia’s offshore detention centers are highly controversial and while the Papua New Guinea site closed at the end of 2021, the Nauru site remains open. According to Human Rights Watch, seven people committed suicide at the facilities along with countless other attempts. Children have also been detained for years and suffered traumas that will mark them for the rest of their lives. The international communities must unite and demand an end to these detention centres, or at least designate them as a last resort.

Australia’s refusal to accept New Zealand’s deal is frustrating for those fighting for refugee rights and refugees themselves. Now that the resettlement has been agreed, it will hopefully serve as a first step in reforming Australia’s harsh practices regarding asylum seekers. Nauru’s detention center must be shut down and its inhumanity stands in stark contrast to New Zealand’s optimistic policies.

Aubrey L. Morgan