Friday, October 01, 2010

Against deporting kiwis

This is absolutely disgusting: the government is about to deport three kiwi kids to live in a slum in India because their parents are overstayers:

Eight-year-old Hemani Mall is terrified – saying she and her twin six-year-old brothers, all born in Hawke's Bay, do not want to live where there are no toilets or running water and that they will not be able to attend school or receive healthcare.

Their parents, Sital Ram, 40, and Usha Rani Ram, 32, have lived in Hastings for 11 years, seven of them as overstayers.

The parents are Dalits (AKA "untouchables"), and likely to be subject to pervasive, though illegal, discrimination. They own no land, meaning their kids will be condemned to a life of poverty. And those children won't be able to benefit from Indian government services, because they're not Indian citizens and can't become one until they renounce their New Zealand citizenship - something our law doesn't allow them to do until they turn 18. The result will be to deny them their rights to health and education affirmed by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which we are parties.

Associate Immigration Minister Kate Wilkinson has rebuffed every appeal to decency for fear of being seen to be "soft" on immigration. But there is a clear case here for an appeal to be granted on humanitarian grounds - and on legal ones. The Convention on the Rights of the Child requires that

In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.
That applies to the government, and it applies to immigration decisions. And it is crystal clear that the best interests of these children is that they stay in New Zealand. And if that means letting their parents stay, then so be it.

A decision will apparently be made tonight. Hopefully, it will be the right one. And if not, well, Wilkinson will have made it clear to everyone that she is cruel and heartless and does not care about the rights of kiwi kids.