Refugee equation should shun politics

The 85 Tamils who were detained in the port of Tanjung Pinang in the Riau Islands off Sumatra in Indonesia obviously did not know about New Zealand politics.

Otherwise, they would not have thought of becoming refugees in an election year, where the chances of ‘the mainstream New Zealand’ issue might pop up, thanks to the reentry of Dr Don Brash to politics as the ACT Party Leader.

Prime Minister John Key has categorically denied allowing the refugees to come to New Zealand, whereas Labour Party Leader Phil Goff was found self-triangulating, despite agreeing with Mr Key.

He however said the latter lacked a ‘human feeling.’

The point missed out in this debate is that it is not always that refugees invade a Western country and make things difficult for the mainstream society.

Humanitarian spirit

Refugees can also make the economy productive with hard-working ethos.

Many refugees around the world have become successful and influential persons in their country of settlement. Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Scientist Albert Einstein became legends in their field.

However, it is not to say that the 85 Tamils turning to New Zealand will make their mark as such names, but things must be considered in the humanitarian spirit, not petty politics, just because somebody has re-emerged from self-imposed exile to mainstream politics again in an election year.

This is more supplanted by the symptoms of having an ‘Asian invasion’, which will harm the serenity of New Zealand. The irony is the person who ran a blog under the tile ‘Asian invasion,’ contesting from the Act Party in the upcoming elections wrote articles on the blog from Hong Kong!

New Zealand is respected as a nation that raises its humanitarian voice in international forums such as the UN.

Polish Jews who came as refugees during the World War II from the German Nazi rule became successful citizens in New Zealand. So have refugees from Somalia, Afghanistan, Chile and Argentina, adding to the multicultural profile of New Zealand.

Humanitarian intervention under the Article 51 of the UN justifies the action of the Western nations against Libya, which in other ways is a violation of sovereignty.

The same humanitarian consideration should be rendered to the Tamilians, who seek refugees for genuineness in their refugee status after being allegedly annihilated as a race during before and after the civil war in Sri Lanka.

If New Zealand is to be respected in International forums and among nations, it is time politicians reminded themselves of New Zealand’s history and values for human rights, keeping aside politics.

Balaji Chandramohan is our Correspondent based in New Delhi. The above article reflects his personal views and not necessarily that of Indian Newslink.

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