The Auckland Refugee Community Coalition (ARCC) was formed by a group of refugee community leaders and representatives as the collective voice of former refugee leaders’ in Auckland region. ARCC were initiated by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) and became incorporated in November 2006. ARCC has been supported and funded by Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). The current ARCC members are 22 registered refugee community organisations from 12 different countries include; the Burmese, Congolese, Burundian, Eritrean, Ethiopian, Kurdish, Rwandan, South Sudanese, Ugandan, Somali and Tamil communities.
The current members of ARCC are 23 registered refugee community organisations from 12 different countries including the Burmese, Congolese, Burundian, Eritrean, Ethiopian, Kurdish, Rwandan, South Sudanese, Ugandan, Somali and Tamil communities. The Auckland Refugee Community Coalition is the key representative of Auckland’s refugee communities in the region.
The need to establish a collective organisation such as ARCC arose when former refugee community leaders recognised that they share common issues related to the resettlement and integration process which they are unable to address at the level of individual community, whether local or regional. The establishment of ARCC has given them a vehicle for collective voice, so they can have on-going communication between community leaders, service providers and government agencies to identify the needs of refugee communities, and find solutions.
ARCC wants to work with their supporters, partners and funders to achieve their goals and ensure (or achieve) full participation of former refugees in the region and in New Zealand society as a whole.
A Refugee is defined as…
“… a person who, owing to a well founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his/her nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself/herself of the protection of that country.”
(The 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees)
New Zealand has been accepting refugees for resettlement since the end of the Second World War and is one of nine countries to host the majority of refugees who are settled annually under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Programme for Resettlement. In 1987, the Government established a formal annual quota for the resettlement of refugees.
Over time, New Zealand’s refugee policy has evolved in response to changing global circumstances and needs. In recent years, a focus on refugees in need of protection – identified by the UNHCR – has resulted in the resettlement of a diverse range of nationalities, for example, from East Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. New Zealand’s willingness to accept a proportion of the world’s most vulnerable cases has served as a testament to its well regarded humanitarian tradition.
At the time of the last national census, 70% of all refugees arriving in New Zealand settled in the Auckland region. Refugees settling in Auckland often arrive with little or no English, they may have no qualifications at all or they may have qualifications that do not align with the New Zealand framework. Some may be traumatised by their history and separation from their family. They may find that they represent a minority with little or no cultural support available to them on arrival.
For refugee communities to settle well in Auckland, a greater level of support is needed. The Auckland Refugee Community Coalition was formed in response to this need.
Our cultures span many thousands of years and with it come all the diverse customs, rituals, beliefs and values. As an organisation the Auckland Refugee Community Coalition is committed to building the ‘happyness’ and wellbeing of Auckland’s refugee communities.
The Auckland Refugee Community Coalition’s philosophy is founded on the need to ensure that the resettlement of refugee families is a positive and empowering experience. To this end we have developed a values set that will serve as a guide to ensure that we work with integrity and utmost good faith.
- We involve and listen to others, and show consideration and empathy for their emotional and physical well-being.
- We communicate with honesty and compassion.
- We work in a courteous and polite manner with all people.
- We give special consideration to the sacredness and humanity of each refugee – their culture, their language, their ancestry, their attitudes, their unique qualities, their skills and beliefs
- Celebrate all the diverse cultures of refugees living in Auckland
- Promote the retention and strengthening of each refugee’s language and culture
- Involve refugee communities in the things we do
- Reach out to all refugees and work together
- Ensure that all refugees are treated fairly
- Promote equal access to all services
- Promote the freedom to choose and the freedom of speech
- Acknowledge the importance of individual beliefs and opinions
- Work together – in our differences we look for our common ground
- Do what we say we are going to do to the best of our ability
- Give our time and skills for the betterment of the Auckland Refugee Community