Saturday, December 4

Afghanistan: Pressure continues on New Zealand government to act


Dozens of organizations and individuals have put his name in an open letter calling on the New Zealand government to give refuge to all Afghan citizens who assisted the defense forces and to host at least 1,500 Afghan refugees.

An RNZAF C130 landed in Kabul Afghanistan today and safely evacuated several New Zealanders and Australians.

An RNZAF C130 evacuating people from Kabul last month.
Photo: Supplied / New Zealand Defense Force

Organizations such as Amnesty International, Oxfam and World Vision sent the letter today to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nanaia Mahuta.

“The needs in Afghanistan are growing by the hour. Right now, aggravating crises are taking place, including hunger, displacement, conflict and Covid-19. Basic services are collapsing and aid is running out,” the letter read.

“We are concerned that, in addition to causing distress, delays in government actions and decisions increase the risk of harm to those in need of help or safe resettlement in New Zealand.”

He said the government had an obligation to do more.

“The New Zealand government invested 20 years and hundreds of millions of dollars in military spending as part of the international intervention in Afghanistan. We have an obligation to the people of Afghanistan to support them now. Either to provide aid or for roads to New Zealand. , the response time is immediate and the cost of inaction is high. “

The letter listed four courses of action, including increasing humanitarian aid “at least double” to Afghanistan and increasing aid to neighboring countries that were receiving refugees.

The letter said that Afghan citizens who had helped the government should be brought here, and New Zealand should also accept more refugees.

“Evacuate the remaining people in Afghanistan left over from the initial mission and include people at risk related to New Zealand in these efforts.”

“Welcome at least 1,500 Afghan refugees into this year’s current refugee admission, in addition to current Refugee Resettlement Quota commitments, for those at most immediate risk or with connections to Aotearoa.”

He applied for faster visa processing for Afghan citizens.

New Zealand was currently resettling 370 refugees from Afghanistan.

After the Taliban seized power last month, a chaotic evacuation took place before a bomb attack at Kabul airport abruptly ended flights from New Zealand.

The letter said the government needed to increase its efforts to engage with the Afghan community in New Zealand and do more internationally.

“Push for agreement in the international community to establish a robust investigative mechanism, with a mandate to document, collect and preserve evidence of ongoing crimes and human rights violations throughout Afghanistan.”

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta said last month that the Cabinet was exploring a second phase of evacuation from Afghanistan and the effects that resettlement would have in New Zealand.

Mahuta told a select committee on Aug. 31 that at that time he was not in a position to broaden the criteria for allowing people to enter New Zealand beyond what the Cabinet had previously decided.


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