Ireland makes permanent Community Sponsorship of Refugees: NZ Next
Amnesty International has sent personnel to Ireland to learn about how to best implement the Community Sponsorship of Refugees in New Zealand.
New Zealand was part of a delegation of eleven nations around the world who gathered this week in Ireland to learn from their award-winning programme and one another on implementing and developing similar models. To wrap up the conference, Ireland formally launched a permanent programme.
Advocacy and Policy Manager Annaliese Johnston says it’s clear that New Zealand is part of a growing cohort of countries leading the world, with its own pilot programme which has already provided safe refuge for families now settled in Hamilton, Christchurch, Nelson and Timaru.
“What was wonderful to see in Ireland was the common values of hospitality and community spirit that have been tapped into with this programme. When we met the new sponsorship groups and the refugees that have been welcomed in a small town in Ireland, it could have been any community hall, in any town in New Zealand, made up of many people who want to make a difference.
Johnston says such programmes are important more than ever as divisive and false messages about refugees threaten to dominate.
“As one of the community sponsors that I met said, “it’s just the right thing to do. It’s been good for our community, for our new Syrian friends, and it’s been good for Ireland.”
She adds she’s looking forward to sharing the opportunities that exist for the programme to grow here.
“Our Irish counterparts have seized the opportunities and positive integration outcomes of this initiative and beat us to it in introducing it as a permanent programme. We congratulate them on their launch and hope that New Zealand will follow and unleash the potential that exists in our communities to be a good global neighbour.”