As a signatory to the 1951 United Nations Convention on Refugees and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, New Zealand has pledged to provide assistance. international humanitarian.
Refuge and asylum in New Zealand
Refugee rights are protected by New Zealand laws, which point to all forms of discrimination and racism and defend freedom of expression, belief and political opinion.
New Zealand Immigration Act of 2009
The section on Immigration Law of 2009 includes the section entitled: Status Determinations and Refugee Protection. There, humanitarian aid is defined, according to the proposal of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.
In this sense, in New Zealand a citizen is considered a refugee who “due to well-founded fears of being persecuted on the grounds of race, religion, nationality or membership of a certain social or political group is outside the country of his or her nationality and cannot or Because of these fears, they do not want to avail themselves of the protection of that country. ”
Convention Against Torture
In addition, under New Zealand legislation, refugee status is extended with the concepts of the 1984 Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Convention Against Torture), and with the Covenant of Rights Civil and Political (Covenant on Civil and Political Rights), 1966.
In other words, in New Zealand an immigrant can receive government protection for meeting the criteria to be considered a refugee (persecution for race, religion, nationality, or social and political orientation) or for being in danger of being tortured or receiving cruel treatment.
The Refugee and Protection Unit is responsible for managing the actions of the New Zealand state in the field of refuge and asylum.
It works in coordination with the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). It also links with the World Organization for Migration (IOM), with NGOs dedicated to solving this problem and with foreign governments.
The section dealing with asylum and protection claims at the New Zealand Immigration Office (New Zealand Immigration, INZ) is:
Asylum or refuge?
The terms refuge and asylum are practically synonymous in New Zealand, as they refer to the idea of protection that a State offers to a person in a vulnerable situation.
In New Zealand, the person who is afraid of returning to his or her own country can ask the New Zealand government to recognize him or her as a refugee or protected person. The person filing a refugee or protection claim in New Zealand is called an “asylum seeker”.
Procedure for applying for refuge in New Zealand
Requesting humanitarian aid from the New Zealand government is a formal procedure that is carried out before a New Zealand authority.
Asylum can be requested upon arrival at a New Zealand airport or seaport, before an immigration officer or a police officer.
Subsequently, the interested party must submit in writing a protection request form and offer a statement to a Refuge and Protection officer, stating the reasons why he or she may be considered a refugee, including the evidence supporting the request.
Likewise, the applicant must deliver to the Refuge and Protection officer all identity documents that they possess, such as their passport and driver’s license. If a candidate does not have an identification document, the police can detain him while conducting the corresponding investigations of the case.
The inclusion of any family member in the candidate’s file must also be reported.
The applicant must supply their contact and address details in New Zealand and report any change of address.
A Shelter and Protection officer may deny the request, if they believe that there is insufficient evidence to support the demand for humanitarian aid.
If an application has entered into consideration, the applicant will be evaluated to determine if the applicant has committed a crime against peace, a war crime or a crime against humanity, or has been guilty of acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations. United.
Asylum or refuge application in New Zealand
In total, the process of submitting an application for asylum or refuge in New Zealand can be summarized in six steps:
- Complete the application form.
- Submit a written statement.
- Attend an interview with a Shelter and Protection officer.
- Receive a report summarizing the application for protection.
- Make final presentations in support or demonstration of the request.
- Receive the verdict.
If a Refugee and Protection officer denies an application for refuge, the decision may be overturned by an appeals court and the person concerned may reintroduce a protection claim. The officer may again deny the request, if he considers that the request is “manifestly unfounded or clearly abusive” or if a previous request is repeated.
All persons who are recognized as refugees obtain a permit to remain indefinitely in the country, while those who are not recognized must leave the territory immediately.
A person may no longer be recognized as a refugee if humanitarian aid conventions cease to apply to the applicant and the applicant can return to their country of origin without risk.
If it is found that the refugee status was “obtained through fraud, falsification, false or misleading representation, or concealment of relevant information”, humanitarian aid will be immediately canceled.
Important aspects of the refuge in New Zealand
- Any asylum seeker in New Zealand can hire a licensed immigration advisor or licensed attorney to help them file their claim for protection. The immigration consultant must be licensed or a practicing attorney. A list of accredited legal advisers or lawyers can be obtained from the Ministry of Justice website here .
- If an asylum seeker cannot afford an attorney, they may be able to count on free legal advice offered by some attorneys.
- New Zealand does not deport any asylum seekers while their claim is being processed. Applications are usually evaluated within 140 days after the formal file was presented to the authority.
- When a person is recognized as a refugee, they can remain in New Zealand permanently. To do this, you can apply for a permanent resident visa.
New Zealand’s commitment to refuge
Every three years, the New Zealand government, through a special department of the immigration ministry, called in English “The Refugee Quota Branch”, decides an annual quota of refugees.