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New Zealand offers home to Syrian refugees

Last Updated: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 - 15:26

Wellington: Up to 100 refugees in need of urgent protection in Syria will be resettled in New Zealand, the government announced here Tuesday.

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said the humanitarian situation in Syria was deteriorating by the day and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees had called on the international community for assistance, Xinhua reported.

"New Zealand`s annual refugee quota includes places reserved for emergency resettlement from large-scale crisis situations, if required, for exactly the type of situation we are seeing in Syria, " Woodhouse said in a statement.
Selected refugees would be interviewed and undergo full screening and security assessment before being accepted.

The first Syrian refugees are expected to arrive in New Zealand during the second half of 2014.

The move was in addition to NZ$12.5 million ($10.11 million) New Zealand had already provided to help those displaced by the conflict in Syria.
Refugee Council of New Zealand spokesperson Gary Poole said the urgent high protection cases were mostly women and children in need of immediate care.

The UN had confirmed that more than a million people had fled Syria as refugees since the civil war began two years ago, Woodhouse said.

First Published: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 - 15:26
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