Govt must speak out against coalition that keeps on killing

The New Zealand Government must speak out against alleged widespread human rights abuses committed by the US-led occupation force in Iraq, Green MP Keith Locke said today.

A damning report from Amnesty International today alleged that coalition forces of badly mistreating Iraqi citizens and inhumane detention conditions, including the beating and killing of unarmed Iraqis.

“I call on the Government to support Amnesty International’s call for US occupation force in Iraq to stop mistreating prisoners,” said Mr Locke, the Green Foreign Affairs spokesperson.

“Iraqi people suffered for years under the heel of Saddam Hussein. It is shameful that Iraqi civilians are still suffering mistreatment and indignities at the hands of US forces, as exposed by Amnesty International.

“It is important that our Government speak out, especially given that New Zealand military personnel will soon be going to Iraq.

“If we stay silent our soldiers risk being perceived by the Iraqi people as being complicit in the abuse of civil rights being committed by occupation forces,” said Mr Locke.

“The Greens urge the Government to reconsider its military commitment to Iraq, and replace it with a civilian reconstruction team that would clearly not be seen as part of the occupation force.

“New Zealand should share the increasing discomfort around the world that the ‘regime change’ has not produced an end to the harassment of Iraqi people by state forces.”