New Zealand: "The next step for E tū is to provide further support to these journalists, including facilitating opportunities for employment"

IFJ affiliate E tū union has secured the evacuation of Afghan journalists to New Zealand and is working on their integration in the country.

In New Zealand, two Afghan women journalists – out of a group of 10 proposed by the IFJ - are already in the country. Three others have accepted New Zealand visas but are still to arrive, while two have subsequently been resettled in France. The remaining three journalists are currently having their applications considered.

Two other journalists and their families, who are not on the IFJ list, have also been resettled in New Zealand.

When they arrive in New Zealand the journalists and their families are settled in an Auckland apartment block with other Afghan nationals who have fled the country since the Taliban took control.

The New Zealand government has focused on bringing out people who were linked to its work in Afghanistan, particularly those who helped the New Zealand army in Bamyan province. In total about 1,450 people have so far come to New Zealand from Afghanistan.

As well as helping those who worked for the New Zealand military Associate Immigration Minister Phil Twyford also set up 200 visas for human rights defenders. They include women judges, human rights workers and journalists. It helped that, in the case of journalists, the IFJ was able to provide a verified list of women journalists which the government could rely upon. That has been a key part of the success in getting visas for women journalists to get to New Zealand.

It has also helped that Minister Twyford, a former journalist, once worked for the IFJ in the Pacific in the late 1980s. His role has been critical in getting visas for these journalists and in getting them to New Zealand.

Getting a visa is just the start. The journalists and their families then must get out of Afghanistan. Once out, New Zealand government officials have provided as much support as possible, including providing accommodation to transit locations and, if necessary, purchasing their air tickets to New Zealand.

In New Zealand they are eligible for all the welfare, housing, health and education support available to New Zealanders. 

The next step for E tū is to provide further support to these journalists, including facilitating opportunities for employment in New Zealand news media organisations. Key union officials and journalist delegates are set to meet with the journalists already here to welcome them properly and to offer them whatever help they need to rebuild their lives and careers.

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on ifj@ifj-asia.org

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

Twitter: @ifjasiapacific, on Facebook: IFJAsiaPacific and Instagram