‘Going through the doors of pain’: asylum seeker and Convention Refugee experiences in Aotearoa New Zealand.

 A qualitative study was published in August by ChangeMakers Refugee Forum and the National Refugee Network. Made possible by a donation from the Tindall Foundation, the study outlined the experiences of 18 Convention Refugees (successful asylum seekers) and highlighted that the standards of safety and protection that New Zealand is obliged to extend to them are being inadequately met. Most notable is the significant disparity between this group and quota refugees (those resettled in NZ as part of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees). Read more about the study and its findings on our website.

The study revealed participants’ experiences of destitution, discrimination, and the deterioration of their physical and mental health during the process of seeking asylum and protection. Lack of resources, information and insufficient policies amounts to a lack of security and protection for this group.  Refugees. This acknowledges an environment where funding, collaboration, and political and public goodwill are minimal.

Some of the conclusions drawn from the interviews with Convention Refugees have highlighted numerous risks to their protection, safety and security. Participants’ experiences of seeking asylum and their journeys towards permanent residency are laden with hurdles, from poor guidance, misinformation and/or mistreatment from airport officials and government agencies, to exploitation and corruption from community members.

As an organisation that supports Migrants and Refugees in Aotearoa, we are disappointed to hear that we are doing so poorly at ensuring the physical and mental health of people who are entering our country. We are working with Changemakers Refugee Forum, Auckland Regional Migrant service, New Zealand National Refugee Network and others to ensure that New Zealanders from refugee backgrounds are able to participate fully in New Zealand life.

Read the study here.