Monday 5th July, 6.30pm until 9.00pm
Venue: Upstairs at the Thistle Inn, 3 Mulgrave St, Wellington

Our speakers for the July meeting are Umesh Perinpanayagam, Advocacy Director with the Asylum Seekers Support Trust, and Dr Julija Sardelic, lecturer in Political Science at Victoria University. Umesh, along with Amnesty International representatives, recently met with the Minister of Immigration to discuss concerns that Immigration NZ are using criminal facilities to detain Asylum Seekers. Julija has a general research interest in citizenship and migration, including minority rights, statelessness and forced migration.

There is a great disparity in the pathway to citizenship in New Zealand between Quota and Convention Refugees.

In January 2017 a paper Aspirational yet precarious: Compliance of New Zealand refugee settlement policy with international human rights obligations by Chris Mahony, Jay Marlowe, Natalie Baird, and Louise Humpage, was published in the International Journal of Migration and Border Studies. The authors consider that “the privileging of Quota refugees over those settling in New Zealand via other pathways is discriminatory.” Refugee communities have advocated for settlement support and family reunification to apply equally to Quota and Convention Refugees. But in 2021 the distinctions continue. The Resettlement Strategy of the New Zealand government applied by Immigration New Zealand is an inequitable system. Amnesty International have recently taken up the issue of asylum seekers in New Zealand with a petition: “People seeking asylum should be welcomed, not imprisoned.” . In May 2021 Amnesty International issued a report, “Take me to a Safe Place’: The imprisonment of asylum seekers in Aotearoa New Zealand”. This report highlighted that from 2015-2020, 86 people seeking asylum had been locked in police cells and prisons around the country while they waited for the outcome of their refugee claim, despite the United Nations warning that this imprisonment should not take place. Action Station has a petition “Equal support for Convention Refugees” created by the Asylum Seeker Equality Project of the Human Rights team, part of the Community Justice Project, a student-led initiative at Victoria University of Wellington’s Law School.

Humanist NZ and NZARH have a special interest in persons with no-belief who seek asylum in NZ from countries where non-belief is persecuted with blasphemy or other charges and in some cases with mandatory death penalties.

All interested people are welcome, Society members and members of the public – bring a friend.