Open Access Article

Title: Aspirational yet precarious: compliance of New Zealand refugee settlement policy with international human rights obligations

Authors: Chris Mahony; Jay Marlowe; Louise Humpage; Natalie Baird

Addresses: World Bank Group, 1818 H St. NW, Washington DC, 20433, USA ' Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Auckland, N-Block, Level 4, Room 6EN-411B, 74 Epsom Ave, Auckland 1023, New Zealand ' Faculty of Arts, University of Auckland, Level 9, Room 201E-915, 10 Symonds St., Auckland 1010, New Zealand ' Faculty of Law, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch, New Zealand

Abstract: New Zealand has ratified many of the same international instruments instructing resettled refugees' rights as other resettlement countries. However, New Zealand has adopted broad strategies with little policy specificity or funding to ensure settling refugees' rights are upheld. In examining selected rights, this article demonstrates that New Zealand refugee policy remains aspirational yet precarious in two main ways. First, refugee pathways to protection, via the UN quota system or as Convention refugees, significantly affect both settlement support and family reunification. Second, policy implementation is often inconsistent and, at times, discriminatory, because economic, social and cultural rights are inadequately embedded into New Zealand's human rights framework. It is thus difficult to claim that New Zealand consistently and sufficiently meets its international obligations, despite the aspirations articulated within New Zealand's recently developed Refugee Resettlement Strategy.

Keywords: New Zealand; refugee settlement policy; international human rights; human rights obligations; refugees; refugee policy; settlement support; family reunification; discrimination; economic rights; social rights; cultural rights.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMBS.2017.081176

International Journal of Migration and Border Studies, 2017 Vol.3 No.1, pp.5 - 23

Received: 28 Dec 2014
Accepted: 19 Mar 2015

Published online: 26 Dec 2016 *