Refugees un­der com­mu­nity spon­sor­ship pro­gramme re­ceive a warm wel­come

Hamilton News - - NEWS -

Fam­i­lies from Somalia, Afghanistan, the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo, Syria, Eritrea and Burma gath­ered at Hamil­ton’s Kirikiriroa Marae last week for a po¯ whiri to wel­come them to their new city.

Join­ing them were peo­ple from the com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tions that sup­port refugees to set­tle in New Zealand, Canada’s Min­is­ter of Refugees and Mi­gra­tion Ahmed Hussen, and New Zealand’s Min­is­ter of Im­mi­gra­tion Iain Lees-galloway.

Both min­is­ters spoke at the lunch fol­low­ing the po¯ whiri, em­pha­sis­ing the value refugees add to their new com­mu­ni­ties and the work of agen­cies such as Red Cross and Car­i­tas pro­vid­ing the vi­tal re­set­tle­ment sup­port ‘on the ground’. Mr Hussen also spoke of the im­por­tance of coun­tries work­ing in part­ner­ship to sup­port both host coun­tries and peo­ple need­ing re­set­tle­ment.

One of the fam­i­lies at Sun­day’s po¯ whiri came to New Zealand un­der the Com­mu­nity Spon­sor­ship scheme, an ini­tia­tive that’s been un­der way in Canada for more than 40 years and is cur­rently be­ing pi­loted here.

The scheme en­ables com­mu­nity-based or­gan­i­sa­tions to re­set­tle refugees in ad­di­tion to New Zealand’s an­nual UNHCR quota.

Mr Lees-galloway said he was look­ing for­ward to see­ing the eval­u­a­tion of the pi­lot and de­vel­op­ing the next steps. Mr Hussen was in New Zealand for a three-day visit be­fore both min­is­ters trav­elled to Aus­tralia to at­tend the an­nual Five Coun­try Min­is­te­rial meet­ing on mi­gra­tion and se­cu­rity.

Photo / Sup­plied

Four-year-old Maariya Ibrahin, whose par­ents came here from Somalia, with Cana­dian Min­is­ter of Refugees and Mi­gra­tion Ahmed Hussen and New Zealand Min­is­ter of Im­mi­gra­tion Iain Lees-galloway at the powhiri in Hamil­ton.

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