Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Status of Refugees and Stateless Persons. Comments of Governments on the Draft Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the Draft Protocol Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons - New Zealand
CONFERENCE OF PLENIPOTENTIARIES ON THE STATUS OF REFUGEES AND STATELESS PERSONS
Comments of Governments on the draft Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the draft Protocol relating to the Status of Stateless Persons
2. NEW ZEALAND
The New Zealand Government have examined the examined the texts of the draft Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and of the draft Protocol relating to the Status of Stateless Persons which are being considered by the Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Status of Refugees and Stateless Persons.
The objects of the draft Convention and the draft Protocol have a limited relevance to New Zealand conditions. Few of the refugees and stateless persons whom they seek to protect have sought asylum in New Zealand. On the other hand, a considerable number of displaced persons - the majority of whom would be refugees or stateless persons - have been accepted for resettlement in New Zealand under arrangements made with the International Refugee Organization. These displaced persons are required to remain at least two years in the employment for which they are chosen on their arrival in New Zealand, and may also be required, for purposes of education and the arranging of accommodation and employment, to spend a short period of residence in a holding camp. Subject to these conditions, displaced persons accepted for resettlement have the same rights and receive the same treatment as ether aliens admitted to New Zealand for permanent residence.
Under New Zealand law it is a general rule that all aliens (including stateless persons) lawfully admitted to New Zealand receive national treatment, that is to say, they have, with few exceptions, the same rights and privileges as British subjects. The only important exceptions are those relating to the registration of aliens, the exercise of the franchise and employment in a small number of professions and occupations which are reserved for British subjects. Furthermore, there is in New Zealand no discrimination as between various classes of aliens, other than the conditions as to employment and residence, referred to above, which attach to migrants who gave come to New Zealand under one of a number of assisted migration schemes. Accordingly, the status of aliens in New Zealand, including that of refugees and stateless persons, is in no way dependent upon reciprocity.
Since New Zealand is a country of immigration, the New Zealand Government are concerned that all immigrants should be given every possible encouragement to adapt themselves to conditions of, life in New Zealand. It is believed that the absence of discrimination between various classes of aliens and the extent to which all aliens are given the rights and privileges of British subjects contribute to this end.
It is clear that the standards proposed in the draft Convention and in the draft Protocol are substantially realized in existing New Zealand practice; and in many respects the treatment accorded to refugees and to stateless persons, as to all aliens, is more favourable than that proposed in the present drafts. It follows that the drafts are, in a large measure, directed to the resolution of problems which exist in countries other than New Zealand. Moreover, the New Zealand Government could not contemplate the acceptance of any provisions in the draft Convention or the draft Protocol which would require discrimination in favour of refugees or stateless persons as against other aliens.
The attitude of the New Zealand Government to the signature and ratification of any Convention of Protocol drawn up by the Conference of Plenipotentiaries will be determined in relation to the considerations set out above.