Kiwis urged to get behind Amnesty’s petition on Ukraine

March 25, 2022

Kiwis urged to get behind Amnesty’s petition on Ukraine

Russian bombardment of telecommunications antennas in Kiev. Photo: Міністерство внутрішніх справ України CC BY 4.0

Kiwis can get behind a local Amnesty International campaign to support Ukraine and pressure the Russian Government.

The campaign comes as the movement also urges the New Zealand Government to go further with their new policy offering visas to some fleeing the war.

Auckland University of Technology Amnesty leader Karen Ishikawa and Amnesty International have launched a petition on social media to stop the aggression and protect civilians in Ukraine.

It will be sent to the Russian Minister of Defence and to the Russian Ambassador in New Zealand in the coming days.

Ishikawa said that it is important for people to recognise the disinformation and the heavy crackdown on Russians within their own country.

“Russian people are also suffering not just people in Ukraine; human rights are being violated.”

The petition is the simplest way for people in New Zealand to take a stand and show support to the people in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International, while welcoming the new Government policy enabling Ukrainians here to sponsor immediate family on two-year visas, says more help is needed.

Amnesty International community manager Margaret Taylor said that the Ukrainian community in New Zealand still feel there is more to be done.

“If you talk to the Ukrainian community there is no financial support to go with it, so it has flaws.”

A Government statement highlights that the sponsors will be responsible for arranging funding, accommodation and living costs of Ukrainian families once in New Zealand.

Amnesty International New Zealand welcomes the policy because it allows 4,000 family members to join family here.

But Amnesty and other organisations such as World Vision have called upon the Government with an open letter to increase the refugee quota to 4000 over the course of 23 years.

Ukraine is the latest crisis, but New Zealand ranks 95th when it comes to resettlement of refugees.

“It’s not doing enough, and we have existing crises that the New Zealand government has done way too little about,” said Taylor.

“The new policy is okay to start with but also a bit of a push back because when compared to other countries we are simply not doing enough. “

The Government launched its new 2022 Special Ukraine Policy last week allowing Ukrainian-born New Zealand citizens to sponsor their families in Ukraine fleeing the war.

Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi said in a statement that the new policy will grant successful applicants a two-year work visa, and their children will be able to attend school here as well.

“The 2022 Special Ukraine Policy will be open for a year and allow the estimated 1,600 Ukrainian-born citizens and residents in New Zealand to sponsor parents, … and their immediate family who are ordinarily resident in Ukraine to shelter safely here.”

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