High Commissioner thanks New Zealand

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Ron Redmond to whom quoted text may be attributed at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

The High Commissioner has sent a letter to Prime Minister Helen Clark thanking her and the people of New Zealand for their strong humanitarian tradition. Mr. Lubbers said he wanted to convey his personal appreciation for the welcome New Zealand has shown persons in need of international protection over the years, including its reception of individuals recently recognized as refugees in Nauru by UNHCR. He said this generous gesture is a testament to New Zealand's exemplary humanitarian tradition and said he agreed with Prime Minister Clark's view that recognized refugees enrich the fabric of society as they become productive members of their new communities.