25 Mar 2015

Red Cross calls for more refugee places

5:05 pm on 25 March 2015

The Red Cross is calling for the country to consider increasing the quota for refugees.

Afghan refugees at the Mangere Refugee Centre in Auckland.

Afghan refugees at the Mangere Refugee Centre in Auckland. Photo: AFP

The country has an annual limit of 750 places for refugees on United Nations waiting lists.

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy said New Zealand should resettle more people.

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said the Government was keeping an open mind.

Red Cross national refugee services manager Molly Kennedy said any increase would help in a world where the number of displaced people last year exceeded 50 million for the first time since World War II.

"The thing about the quota is that it allows the United Nations to make really strategic decisions about how to alleviate a situation, having people in those areas see people who are leaving who are finding a solution also makes it a bit more palatable to stay and have hope for the future."

Ms Kennedy said New Zealand had few asylum seekers because of where it was geographically, and could help the United Nations in solving some crises, such as in Bhutan and Syria.

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