For World Refugee Day the Human Rights Commission has asked New Zealanders to take the time to listen to the story of a refugee.
“Take the time to listen to the story of everyday people whose lives have been ripped apart by violence and left with nothing but their lives and if they’re lucky, their loved ones and children,” said Race Relations Commissioner Susan Devoy.
“Today we invite Kiwis to open not just their minds but their hearts.”
The UN Refugee Agency confirmed this week in their annual report that 65.6 million people were forcibly displaced globally at the end of 2016: the pace at which people are being displaced is rising. On average 20 people were driven from their homes every minute last year, or one every three seconds.
“Refugees aren’t just a political issue, they are people: mums and dads, children, babies, loved ones,” said Dame Susan.
“I’ve been lucky to regularly visit the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre and the most common words you hear while there are “Thank You” and “We Love New Zealand.”
“Rugby superstar Sonny Bill Williams took time out of his busy schedule to spend half a day at the centre a few months ago. He met other young parents, mums and dads who shared the same hopes and dreams we all have for our children: safety, an education and a hopeful future.”