Greens call on Government to rethink a war it can’t win

The Green Party is calling for the Government to reconsider its commitment to the co-called “war on terrorism” in the wake of a scathing Amnesty International report.

“Today’s Amnesty report shows the human rights downsides of George Bush’s ‘war on terrorism’ outweigh any gains,” Keith Locke, the Green Foreign Affairs spokesperson, said today.

The reports finds that ‘the war on terror, far from making the world a safer place, has made it more dangerous by curtailing human rights, undermining the rule of international law and shielding governments from scrutiny. It has deepened divisions among people of different faiths and origins, sowing the seeds for more conflict.’

“This Government is an active supporter of Bush’s ‘war on terror,’ it has committed air, sea and land units in what is perceived by much of the world as an anti-Islamic crusade. We currently have two intelligence officers at Bagram air base in Afghanistan, where Amnesty reports that prisoners have been mistreated.

“At home, New Zealand is further restricting civil liberties with the Counter-Terrorism Bill currently before Parliament, following the passage of the Terrorism Suppression Act last year. This will considerably increase the state’s surveillance powers and make it easier to criminalise political protest.

“And pressure is mounting on New Zealand from the American and Australian governments to follow their even more draconian ‘anti-terrorist’ measures, which are detailed in the report,” said Keith Locke.

“Amnesty also criticises governments for arbitrarily detaining asylum seekers as ‘potential terrorists’ rather than as ‘people fleeing terror.’ It points out that this Government now detains most asylum seekers, whereas before September 11 ‘only five percent of asylum seekers had been detained’ in New Zealand.”