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Newsletters > Diversity Action Programme > Te Punanga: Refugee Focus > 2011 > June

Te Punanga: Refugee Focus

ISSN 1178-0940 June, 2011

News & Issues

The 2011 New Zealand Diversity forum will be held on Sunday and Monday 21-22 August at the Claudelands Convention Centre in Hamilton.

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It will be preceded by community events on Saturday 20. The theme of the conference, People in Harmony, continues from Race Relations Day in March 2011. Attendance on Sunday and for individual forums is free. If you are attending for half a day or more the registration fee is $50.

 For more information visit the Diversity Forum webpage or  register online now.

Message from the UNHCR

Each year the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) commemorates World Refugee Day on 20 June 2011.

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In this 60th Anniversary year of the Refugee Convention UNHCR wants to recognize the courageous spirit and resilience of refugees around the world. At the same time, we are calling on you to show your support for those fleeing persecution and abuse.

Through the simple statement, “1 refugee without hope is too many,” we hope people will reflect on how they can join UNHCR in helping the more than 10 million refugees around the world who have lost everything.

Through extensions of this theme we will be addressing the rights of refugees, asylum-seekers, stateless people as well as those internally displaced.

One of the strengths of World Refugee Day is the many schools and community-based events that take place all around the world on June 20.

The annual commemoration is marked by a variety of events in more than 100 countries, involving government officials, humanitarian aid workers, celebrities, civilians and the forcibly displaced themselves.

NZDAP participants all over the country will be holding events to mark the day.

Checkout World Refugee Day New Zealand on Facebook.

Fundraising dinner in Auckland

Auckland Refugee Family Trust is having a Fundraising dinner Saturday 18 June at 7pm.

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The dinner will be prepared by the Auckland Refugee Community Coalition celebrating the first anniversary of the Trust, World Refugee Day and the 60th Anniversary of the signing of the UNHCR Geneva Convention.

The keynote speakers will be Atka Reid and Hana Schofield, who have just returned from the launch of their book ‘Goodbye Sarajevo’ at the Auckland and Sydney Writers & Readers Festivals.  This book tells their personal story and has been internationally acclaimed since its release a few weeks ago.  International attention has been focused again on the shameful period of history surrounding the siege of Sarajevo, by the arrest of Ratko Mladic and his extradition to the Hague for trial. This is the context of their story.

Tickets $25. To purchase or make a donation, either direct credit ARFT 38 9010 070 4176 00 with your surname as reference & number of tickets required and email Janfrie Wakim or post cheques with surname, number of tickets required & contact details to: The Treasurer, ARFT, PO Box 47008, Ponsonby

Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre will celebrate World Refugee Day on Sunday 19 June. 

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The event is a public Open Day planned to raise awareness around New Zealand's Refugee Quota Programme, commemorate the journey of all New Zealand's former refugees, and celebrate the contribution former refugees have made to New Zealand.

The program will commence with a formal opening at 10:30am followed a by a tour of the site and morning tea for invited guests. Cultural performances in the main marquee will run throughout the day from 11:30 until 3:30pm.

Several displays and exhibitions will be on show in the conference room, detailing the history of the New Zealand resettlement program, the UNHCR, and the personal journeys of refugees to New Zealand.

At 3:30pm, Refugees as Survivors are hosting a screening of "Enemies of the People", a documentary on the Khmer Rouge. For more information contact 09 259 0152or visit Immigration New Zealand on Facebook.

Refugee Services will also be part of the Mangere Reception Centre event, being planned and coordinated by Department of Labour. Their Auckland office is also working on a short TV programme for children and schools on Triangle TV. The programme will interview a number of former refugees with a wide culture mix and a good gender mix as well.

AUT Centre for Refugee Education will also be taking part in the Open Day at Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre. Classrooms in the Early Childhood, Primary and Adult sections will be open to visitors. To see what school at the Centre is like please come along and take a look around. They are also hoping to welcome back people who have visited before or been to school there.  Please contact Meriel Cavanagh for more information.

World refugee Day on the small screen

Asia Downunder (Sunday 11am on TV ONE) is running a refugee special on June 19 to mark World Refugee Day.

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It will also be available for viewing online after the programme has been to air.

One of the reports is about Tinmama Oo, a former Burmese refugee whose story has become an educational resource for the New Zealand social studies curriculum.  Tinmama tells her own story in the DVD "A Girl from Glen Innes", first produced in 2004 when she was a teenager at high school, then later updated with her graduation from Auckland University.  Since the updated DVD was released in 2010, an educational unit has been developed for it and is now available as a free web download.

Asia Downunder will also feature the publication “Beyond the Dark Journey” on Sunday 26 June 11am. The Wellington Refugees as Survivors Trust published its second book of short stories by young refuges earlier this year. This book entitled” Beyond the Dark Journey” also includes poems from the 8 authors.

Catch the New Zealand premiere of the documentary ‘Hope’ on Friday 8 July, 8.00pm at the Academy Theatre Lorne St, Auckland.

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Amal is one of only 7 survivors of 400 people from the boat ‘Siev X’ which sank on its way to Australia in 2001. This incident stands as a shocking event relevant to current policy making about the treatment of asylum seekers. Her courageous life as a survivor in Australia is sensitively and sincerely told by acclaimed documentary maker, Steve Thomas. He will attend the NZ premiere to speak and answer questions.

 For booking details contact Janfrie Wakim.

Stories from Ethiopia

Come and hear an inspiring presentation by Dawit Arshak, a former refugee from Ethiopia.

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Dawit will share his story on the journey from Ethiopia to New Zealand, and talk about his involvement in Habitat for Humanity, a local charity providing housing and education for African communities.

Auckland Libraries will also be having information displays at libraries across the region and Auckland Central Library.

Date    :           Monday 20 June
Time   :           6.00pm - 7.30pm
Venue :           Whare Wānanga, Level 2, Central City Library, 44-46 Lorne Street.

Find out more: phone 09 301 0101 or visit Auckland Libraries online.

Soccer Tournament and Cultural Festival

Refugee Services is hosting a soccer match on Sunday 19 June at the Velodrome and Marist St Pats Club rooms, Hataitai Park to celebrate World Refugee Day.

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Festival goers will be able to cheer on as teams from all over the world battle it out in a mini soccer tournament. Without exception, New Zealand's refugee communities are passionate players and followers of the beautiful game, so you can expect energy and fierce competition.

The highlight of the day will be the Invitational Match, in which City councillors and Wellington personalities are pitted against the All-Stars Refugee team in an attempt to break a three year losing streak. MP Annette King and Wellington City Mayor, Celia Wade-Brown, both long-time supporters of this event will be on hand to award the trophies to the winners.

World Refugee Day Schedule

11:00 am        Kick-off Football Match (Asia VS Africa/America)
12:00 pm        Second Football Match (Refugee All-Stars VS Wellington Invitational XI)
12:15 pm        Food/craft stalls and info desks open
1:00 pm          Football Awards Ceremony, cultural music and dance
2:00 pm          Performance by Collabor8

Collabor8 is a refugee-background youth drama group preparing a performance for World Refugee Day on 20th June 2011.  The youths are originally from Sudan, Rawanda, Iraq and Burma having been developing the production with support from Voice Arts Trust and ChangeMakers Refugee Forum. Their performance is an original piece of work created by a drama group of refugee youth from Myanmar/Burma, Iraq, Sudan and Rwanda. The group is facilitated by the Voice Arts Trust and ChangeMakers Refugee Forum and the performance will be recorded and edited into a DVD. Along with the script, the DVD will be circulated to schools and agencies nationwide in an effort to foster greater understanding of refugee issues.

A cultural festival will offer the opportunity to sample food from countries such as Myanmar/Burma and Somalia, as well as watch traditional dances.

Please note that the tournament and festival will take place rain or shine, and that there will be no eftpos facilities on site.

Click here to see a map

Please visit www.worldrefugeeday.org.nz for more information, or contact Robyn Harper on 04 805 0317.

“Let’s Shake” at Te Papa

A series of community art experiences known as “Let’s Shake” will run at TePapa in June and July 2011.

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These events invite members of all communities to sit and make a unique piece of art together by holding hands while waiting for plaster to harden between their hands.

The result of those handshakes will be presented as an installation in the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts, July/August 2011. These unique moulds will later form part of the larger collection and be displayed in future installations around the world.

"Let’s Shake" is a collaborative project as part of Wellington’s Matariki programme and World Refugee Day for 2011. It has successfully been bringing communities together through the creation of art since its launch in 2006, when it was first commissioned by the University of Adelaide.

Venue: Te Papa Marae

Event 1: Friday 17 June
1 – 5pm
3pm Talk

Event 2: Sunday 19 June
11am–2pm
12.30pm Talk

Event 3:  Monday 20 June (World Refugee day)
1pm – 4pm
2.30pm Talk

For each event, artist Karen Casey will present a 20 minute talk, with 10 minutes for questions and answers.

Crafters’ Knitting Corner

Wellington City Libraries have set up a Crafters’ Knitting Corner in each of its Tawa, Johnsonville and Khandallah branches, to celebrate World Refugee Day.

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This is a space where the customers can sit down, take a moment to relax, unwind a bit of wool and knit or crochet a few rows or a square (20cm by 20cm) towards a peggy-square blanket. The squares will be sewn together to form blankets which will be donated to refugees coming from such diverse places as: Somalia, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Sri Lanka.

For more information please visit: Wellington City Libraries.

A campaign to have refugee-background students recognised as an equity group in government policy and at universities and polytechnics will be launched on 20 June 2011, Refugee Day. 

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The purpose of the campaign is to ensure greater numbers of refugee-background students can enrol and complete studies at a tertiary level. Recognition as an equity group would mean refugee-background students would be eligible for additional study support and resources to help reduce the barriers they face in gaining a tertiary education.

The campaign is underpinned by a discussion document that highlights New Zealand’s international and national commitments on the right to education, research from current refugee-background students on the challenges and barriers they face,  information about the impact of stopping the refugee study grants in 2010, and a look at the impact on the achievements of Pasifika students who are an equity group under the current system.

This is collaboration between ChangeMakers Refugee Forum, the National Refugee Network, Pathways to Employment (a Refugee Services programme) and academics from Victoria University of Wellington who work with refugee-background students.

All are invited to attend the launch of the equity campaign on Monday 20 June, 4.30-6.00pm, The Grand Hall, Parliament Buildings, Wellington.

For more information email Alia Bloom, research coordinator.

More than 160 delegates have just attended the annual National Refugee Resettlement Forum (NRRF), hosted by Department of Labour’s Settlement, Protection and Attraction Division in Wellington last week.

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This two day event is a highlight for the Refugee resettlement sector calendar, including for all government and non-government agencies active in or with an interest in New Zealand’s refugee arrivals.

This year’s theme of “Future Voices ­- Future Choices” included keynote speeches from IT Entrepreneur Mitchell Pham and the Minister of Immigration, presentations from the Department’s IMSED Research team and from young refugees from Myanmar, Djibouti and the Congo, reflecting on their achievements and their future here in New Zealand.

Activities included sessions on the Christchurch earthquakes, panel discussions and presentations, the launch of the fourth annual New Zealand Somali Graduate Journal - and a celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Refugee Convention (on 1 June ) attended by the Governor General Sir Anand Satyanand.

To enable refugees to more easily achieve fulfilling, independent lives that will reduce their dependency government support, the Settlement, Protection and Attraction Division is also currently leading the development of a new National Refugee Resettlement Strategy. 

The engagement of both participating agencies and the country’s former refugee communities is fundamental to this work, and the national forum provides a key meeting opportunity for all representatives each year.

Refugee Family Reunification Trust

The Refugee Family Reunification Trust is urgently seeking funds to help reunite several families.

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These families need help towards the cost of the airfares to bring their surviving family members, including young children, to join them in Wellington.

Most of these families have been torn apart by war, and their circumstances as refugees, and many have spent years separated from their loved ones.

In the past nine years, the Refugee Family Reunification Trust has helped more than 150 refugees in Wellington with the costs of reuniting their families.

If you would like to make a donation to help these families, please send it to the Refugee Family Reunification Trust, PO Box 27342, Marion Square, Wellington 6141. Donations can also be made directly at Westpac, Lambton Quay Branch, account number 030502-0337025-00. If you would like to know more about the work of the Trust, please contact Amanda Calder at (04) 4757994 or visit the Refugee Family Reunification Trust website.

The IRCT (International Rehabilitation Council on Torture) in Geneva and RASNZ are collaboratively organising the first New Zealand training on application of the Istanbul Protocol to be held in Auckland on 23-25 June 2011. 

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The Istanbul Protocol was a landmark step in recognising the importance of effective process in securing the rights of victims of torture to protection, rehabilitation, and reparation.  In 2003, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights introduced to  governments the principles of the Istanbul Protocol as a useful tool in addressing and preventing torture. This international convention contains detailed procedures, and practical guidelines for medical, mental health and legal specialists on how to recognise and document evidence that may assist in legal process, in rehabilitation, and in relation to standards which should be referenced and followed by practitioners.  The training will be delivered by internationally leading medical, legal and mental health specialists in the field including Dr Őnder Ozkalipci, Forensic Physician, Dr Thomas Wenzel, Director, IRCT Medical Director and Psychiatrist, Copenhagen, Alice Verghese and Rodger Haines, QC, with the University of Auckland.  This professional development training will apply for Medical Practitioners, Lawyers, Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Judiciary, Policy Officials and Policy Makers.  Availability is limited to 40 places and applicants are advised to register early to secure and confirm a training place. 

To register or for queries, contact Joyce Wei Liu at 09-270-0870.

Mastura Abd Rahman has been appointed to the position of Managing Coordinator for the Refugee Programmes at Hagley Community College.   

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She can be reached on 379 3090 ext 810 or by email ar@hagley.school.nz

The teams at Hagley working with Refugee specific Programmes are:

Director Learning Communities (After Three Programme/ Adult and Community Education/ Refugee Programmes/ Family Learning): Heather Clark.

Managing Coordinator Refugee Porgrammes: Mastura Abd Rahman.

Coordinator/Manager: Multi Ethnic Homework and Study Support Centre: Bishnu Pokhrel.

Community Liaison, Bhutanese/Nepali communities: Bishnu Pokhrel.

Community Liaison, Afghan and Kurdish communities: Ali Deljo.

Careers and Pathways: Anna Lu.

ACE (Adult and Community Education) Coordinator: Marama Rangitaua.

Learning Communities Admin and Enrolments Officer: Cheryl Thomas.

Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT) is offering places for refugee and academic migrant students to study ESOL for zero fees.

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This funding is provided by CPIT and for 2011 replaces the TEC Refugee Study Grant and Academic Migrant Study Grant.

As part of the earthquake recovery strategy, CPIT has increased this finding for semester 2 2011. If interested contact the ESOL enrolment administrator, Louise Flintoff at 0800 940 8000

In 2010, 313 Burmese learners worked with English language Partners to improve their language skills, by far the largest refugee ethnic group learning English through the organisation.

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Like to know more about English Language Partner's work with refugee learners?

"Focus on Refugees" takes a closer look at this important aspect of English Language Partners' work, providing in-depth information on refugee learners.

Supplementary to the 2010 Annual Report, the booklet can be downloaded from this link.

In 2010, English Language Partners also worked with 6,525 migrant learners, the largest ethnic group being Chinese. For more, download ELP's 2010 Annual Report.

For a hard copy of either document, please contact Grace Bassett.