English Speech – What is right and what is just
Assessment Standard 2.5
The purpose of this seminar is to educate and ultimately influence you here today on the need to open up our arms to those less fortunate than us. A country such as New Zealand, which is affluent in many aspects, holds the ability to accommodate some of the millions of refugees who are forced out of their homes for a multitude of differing reasons. This is an ordeal that no human should be forced to experience. It is only just that us, as the more fortunate, with more means available, do our part and deny the flourishing of this immoral occurrence.
Recent increases in conflict in the Middle East has led to the displacement of innocent civilians who have had nothing to do with the conflicts bar their nationality or religion or even just location of living. This unjust series of events has led to the need for countries to gracefully accommodate these ‘refugees’, however, this has hardly happened in affluent parts of the world. In fact the wealthiest countries really aren’t playing their part in homing refugees. 10 countries in Africa, Middle East and South Asia take in over half of all refugees simply because they are neighbours, even though they can hardly offer adequate housing. To add to this Australia has 5 times our population yet takes in 18 times more refugees per year than us. To me this simply displays the need for New Zealand, as a successful country, to up it’s game and help out here.
With the increasing amount of people in need of homes there has been even more people turned away. There are obvious reasons for this ranging from a lack of infrastructure, costs or even discrimination.
A misconceived idea regarding the accommodation of refugees is that they will solely be of detriment to a nation. This idea is based on little fact and more on notions such as; people with less are inferior, have little to provide and are a contamination to society, all poorly guided thoughts that are in fact incredibly incorrect and simply make civilians and governments reluctant to host refugees. Ultimately, it provides a poor outlook on life and questions the righteousness of those with these thoughts.
Recent refugees ousted from their homes have been removed from less well off places than the likes of Wanaka or New Zealand. Were you born into a Syrian family, which is where around 13.5 million refugees will be from this year, then you would have 80% less money that what you, as a family, have in New Zealand. This place of origin generates ideas that they are naturally going to be subordinate to those more affluent. This affects decisions on their acceptance into countries, which often results in a nation missing out on wanted attributes as taking refugees in procures many positives results and countries that do so are beneficiaries of the aspects that they provide.
Firstly, many of these refugees offer helpful skill sets. The acquisition of potential contributors to the economy is a huge reason for countries to increase their refugees quota, regardless of it being somewhat selfish. An example of this is the placement of refugees into low-skill required jobs such as retail or factory process. This would reap immediate benefits and could transpire to provide more people to have higher positions in companies. Should refugees not possess any strongly beneficial attributes, then the increase in population is still positive economic growth which all governments desire. The addition of these people provides not a burden but an economic benefit as they will provide jobs which essentially pays back into our economy through consumerism. These said refugees are also often self motivated, proven by their drive to relocate themselves and desire for a better life. This counters the belief that all refugees are reliant on the country that they have moved to.
A final positive implication from accommodating refugees is the addition to a country’s culture that they bring. Foreigners relocating bring with them a completely different lifestyle structured around often contrasting cultures. The diversification of a culture within one country is never a bad thing as long as all cultures are given breathing space, so to speak. In many cases people can learn from these new traditions and ways of living to enhance their own lives. An example of this enhancement is evident in everyone’s life! Picture your favourite cuisine, now I bet that the majority of this room enjoys meals that have had cultural influence, without it, our daily food options would be pretty bleak. Refugees themselves help to spread the influence of many cultures and so is simply another positive of accommodating them!
Personally, I feel that the humanitarian aspect to this whole ordeal ultimately cancels out any negatives that may come from taking in refugees. It is simply the right and just thing to do.
The Green Party is one group of people that are striving to do the right thing in dealing with refugees positively. They are a specific group with strong morals around refugees and provide many solutions to this imminent problem. One solution that I agree with is the community sponsorship project. This is a plan which involves communities coming together to fund the accommodation of refugees. It entails people within community and church groups sponsoring refugees to live until they are able to do so off their own means. When shared throughout the country this would allow an additional 1000 refugees to live in New Zealand and is really of little effort per person.
I believe that accommodation and acceptance of refugees from all over the world is the just and righteous thing to do in all situations. Many preconceived ideas around this simply brings unnecessary strife to the world and so should we all begin to learn to walk in the shoes of others and accept people for who they are not what they look like or have experienced then the world would be a much better place. And it starts in this very room.