The New Zealand Writers Guild says that “mass discrimination based on birthplace or religion is not the New Zealand way.”
The New Zealand Writers Guild has come out in support of its U.S. counterpart in condemning U.S. President Donald Trump’s immigration ban, following the decision by Iranian Oscar nominee Asghar Farhadi on Sunday to boycott the Oscar ceremony.
In a statement, the NZWG said it was “troubled by recent moves by the U.S. government to discriminate on the basis of birthplace and the religious beliefs of the community people were born into.”
It added: “New Zealand has a centuries-long tradition of welcoming those from other lands, of varying beliefs, and New Zealand writers have always recognized and welcomed differing views for the vitality, depth and richness they bring to our own views of the world and to our creative lives.”
And it concluded: “Mass discrimination based on birthplace or religion is not the New Zealand way, and we should all make every effort to respect and protect the rights of all people regardless of race, creed or religion. Human rights — including the freedoms of speech and religion — define what we stand for as writers and as human beings. We believe they are essential to all in building healthy, productive communities. What threatens one sector of the community threatens us all.”
The NZWG highlighted that it “supports our colleagues in the Writers Guilds of America who have vowed to oppose such measures.”
That followed a joint statement from the Writers Guild of America, East and West, which said “it is both unconstitutional and deeply wrong to say that you cannot enter our country because of where you were born or what religion you were born into.”
An executive order issued by Trump on Friday temporarily bans citizens of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen from entry into the U.S. The administration says it is necessary to keep out people while stricter vetting procedures are put in place.
The guilds said they were standing in solidarity with Farhadi, writer-director of The Salesman, nominated for the best foreign-language Oscar, who said that the ban, which would prevent him from traveling to the U.S for the Oscars, was “in no way acceptable” and that, even if he got an exception, he would not attend.