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Spies Walk Free While Zaoui is Left to Rot
was Rod’s observation after the release from prison and deportation of two apparent Mossad on September 29
“I question the morality of two passport fraudsters being freed to return home to receive their Mossad medals, while Ahmed Zaoui – guilty of nothing more than being a democratically elected member of his country’s Parliament – has every prospect of spending two years behind bars without a charge being laid against him,” said Green Co-leader, Rod Donald.
“Neither Eli Cara or Uri Kelman have ever come clean on the identity of their paymaster, their accomplices or the purpose of their New Zealand operation. Yet they are free to return home to a hero’s welcome after serving just half of their six-month sentence.
“If this government had any sense of morality and fairness it would release Ahmed Zaoui now and concentrate its security efforts on people who really threaten our peace.”
the full release
Don’t Put More Kiwi Troops at Risk
was Rod’s reaction on September 26 to the welcome return of the New Zealand Engineers from Iraq.
“Our engineers deserve praise for the good work they did in Iraq,” said Rod. “They carried out their reconstruction tasks in a thoroughly professional manner that will have impressed those Iraqis they came in contact with.
“But to the vast number of Iraqis in Basra they will have been just another unit in the British force that invaded and now occupies their country. The irony is, our engineers have been busy reconstructing the very infrastructure that their British and American colleagues blasted to smithereens.
“The New Zealand Government tried to placate George Bush for not backing his illegal invasion, by joining his ‘coalition of the willing’ after the event. It provided Mr Bush with some much-needed international support and it keeps alive our Government’s hope of an invitation to future trade talks…
“The Green Party supports our highly skilled and dedicated troops carrying out reconstruction projects in Iraq and Afghanistan at some time in the future – but not as part of an army of occupation, but rather as invited and honoured guests of the people they are there to help.”
Green health spokesperson, Sue Kedgley also welcomed back the Iraqi engineers, but offered a note of warning about their possible exposure to depleted uranium.
“Basra has some of the highest exposure levels in Iraq, dating from the time of the first Gulf War,” said Ms Kedgley. “The Government is to be commended for offering free tests for the returning troops, but these tests have to be on-going as the horrible effects of depleted uranium can take many years to surface.”
Ms Kedgley called on the Government to offer the same free treatment and monitoring services as that made available to Vietnam veterans who had been exposed to Agent Orange.
the full release
Release Zaoui Now!
Following the Court of Appeal decision on September 17, Green Co-Leader Rod Donald said that the Government should release Ahmed Zaoui from prison and allow him to live at the Mangere Refugee Centre.
The Court of Appeal delivered a split decision that Zaoui’s detention is legal, but also judged that the Government has the power to change the relevant regulations and allow the Algerian refugee to be detained outside prison.
“The Government should take heed of the Court of Appeal’s view that it has the power to change its own rules and start treating Ahmed Zaoui as the refugee he has officially been since August 2003,” said Mr Donald.
“Labour has run out of excuses and must now show some humanity towards this former Algerian MP, who has been locked up for 21 months despite not being charged with any crime.”
the full release
Learning to be Better Peacemakers
. On September 16 Keith Locke set off for Norway to learn more about that country’s highly effective international peacemaking work.
“Although it has only the same population as New Zealand, Norway is a superpower in peacemaking,” said Keith. “Of course, New Zealand has also been involved in some exemplary peace-making initiatives, most significantly in Bougainville, but there is certainly scope for us to do more.
“Despite its size, Norway has played a major peacemaking role in right around the world, from Sudan and Colombia to Palestine and Sri Lanka. When I visited Sri Lanka last year to look at the peace process, I found Norwegians involved at every level, from negotiations to monitoring the ceasefire.
“The purpose of my trip is to find out how the Norwegians do it and what New Zealand can learn from them.”
Keith is also visiting Sweden and discussing international human rights issues in both countries and how it ties in with their reconciliation and development programmes.
the full release
See also, Analysis, below
– Make Ahmed Zaoui YOUR Auckland University Students Association Algerian Affairs Spokesman!
Midday – Thursday 7 October in the Auckland University Quad
“A passionate advocate of peace through democracy” – RSAA investigation
NZ music legend Chris Knox playing live!
Prizes! (CD vouchers)
Fun for all!
Human Rights Foundation Action for Ahmed Zaoui
. On September 20 Clive Aspin of the Human Rights Foundation circulated the appeal below for greater support for Ahmed Zaoui and his family.
For 20 months now Ahmed Zaoui has been held in New Zealand prisons while his case has taken a number of extraordinary twists and turns and raised many issues of extreme importance to our country. Like you, many New Zealanders are concerned about these issues, the principles that underlie them and about the way Mr Zaoui has been treated.
I have written to you on previous occasions about these matters and about upcoming events and developments in the case. But that’s not why I’m writing this letter. Today is about how we can maintain and extend the public support in the coming months and continue to support Mr Zaoui and his family for however long the case takes.
This letter suggests some very specific ways you can help, both financially and in other ways. All contributions will be welcomed and valued.
We aim to provide some much needed relief to Mr Zaoui’s family, who have been in hiding since his detention, and to help organise a wide range of activities that show publicly the strength of public feeling about his case. For instance, over 500 people, a range of well-known musicians and actors and Sir Paul Reeves supported Mr Zaoui and his family at a Wellington benefit concert recently. A similar event is being planned in Auckland before the end of the year.
Here are some important ways you could contribute financially:
- $500 would help to support Mr Zaoui’s family for a month
- $1,500 would fund a large poster showing the wide range of New Zealanders who support Mr Zaoui
- $800 would fund some attractive campaign postcards that are ready to print
- $600 would help Mr Zaoui’s voice be heard by publishing some of his writings on Islam, Christianity, and democracy
- $10,000 would allow us to appoint a full time campaign manager to see us through this long and difficult process
- $2,000 would allow us to produce copies of the easy-to-read Refugee Status Appeals Authority Zaoui decision so that more New Zealanders can read its refutation of the arguments against Mr Zaoui
Any other donations would of course help support and expand our other activities.
Here are some other very important ways you could contribute:
- Write regular letters to the editor and politicians explaining why the arguments being used against Mr Zaoui are false or misleading and explaining why you support him (if you’d like more information to assist this, please get in touch)
- Contact friends and family (in New Zealand and overseas) and ask them to do the same
- Provide a prominent site for a sign supporting Mr Zaoui on a house, building or fence (eg. on a busy route)
- Offer special skills or resources that could help our work.
Thank you for any support you can give. We would be very pleased to hear from you if you were able to assist, either financially or otherwise. You can contact me via return email or by phone (details below).
Also, please feel free to disregard this message if you do not wish to contribute or you are not currently in a position to do so.
Human Rights Foundation
PO Box 106343
Norway is now very well known for involvement in every aspect of peace-keeping, peace-making and peace-building
– and in places where there is no obvious direct benefit to Norway. How it has achieved this and what New Zealand can learn from their experiences is the major reason for Keith’s current visit to Norway and Sweden.
A very brief defining of terms may be useful:
- Peace keeping involves imposing some order and enforcing separation of parties to an armed conflict.
- Peace making refers to the process of bringing them to some agreement.
- Peace building looks at implementing agreements and building political, economic and social structures that enhance the capacity for a durable peace. Such an approach to peace calls for new partnerships between government agencies, military forces, civil society, international organisations and non-governmental organisations.
The three facets are obviously interlinked and are very often in train at the same time, the relationships and linkages between them are complex and change from situation to situation. However it is equally clear that, as a country only marginally larger than New Zealand, Norway has made huge and admirable contributions in Peace making and building.
Below are a couple of articles on the issues and some links.
The Descendants of Vikings Are Now Raiders for Peace
(The full article can be found at:
By Doug Mellgren
April 21, 2002
The descendants of the Vikings still wind up in many of the world’s worst conflicts, except that modern Norwegians are more like doves of peace.
From Afghanistan to the Balkans, from Guatemala to the Middle East, it seems that wherever there’s trouble these days, there’s a Norwegian peacemaker.
“There is a feeling out in the world that if you send a Norwegian, the conflict will be solved,” said Geir Lundestad, secretary of the committee that selects winners of the Nobel Peace Prize awarded each year in Oslo….
…”If there was a remote chance, we took the chance when other countries wouldn’t,” said Egeland, a former deputy foreign minister. “It’s the sides that have to make peace. We can only help.”
Peace efforts have become a foreign policy priority for Oslo, with the development over the past decade of a “Norwegian model” — an unusual alliance of government and civilian organizations.
One of its latest efforts, in Sri Lanka, at last seems to be paying off.
After more than two years of trying, Norwegian mediators got the government and the country’s main separatist rebel group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or Tamil Tigers, to sign a cease- fire agreement in February as a step toward ending 18 years of war that has killed more than 60,000 people. The two sides are preparing for formal peace talks.
Politician Erik Solheim worked in secret to start the peace effort in Sri Lanka before it became public two years ago.
“We started in Sri Lanka with the idea of copying the Middle East process, but we very quickly came to the realization that every conflict and every country is different,” he said. “We try to build confidence. We are neutral and have no other agenda than to try to resolve a conflict.”
One reason Norway has emerged as a global peacemaker, say those involved, is that a small country with no colonial past and no threatening military or economic power can often mediate where a superpower cannot. …
…Norway sees peace as a way of protecting its heavy investment in development aid, which amounts to 0.9 percent of its gross domestic product.
“What is the point of us building school after school, then having schools bombed, then building more new schools, and having them bombed, too?” said Raymond Johansen, a former deputy foreign minister.
•Peace, Mediation and Reconciliation: The Norwegian Experience
Below is an extract from a speech by the Norwegian State Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Vidar Helgesen, last year, describing the factors involved in Norway’s facilitation of peace processes, but focussing on Sri Lanka.
The full speech can be found at:
Peace, Mediation and Reconciliation: The Norwegian Experience
…In the various peace processes we are involved in today we are trying to take such lessons into account. The nature of our involvement differs with each process, but there are three particularly important features that are common to all of them:
1)Supporting negotiations between the parties;
2)Supporting mechanisms for monitoring negotiated commitments; and
3)Demonstrating real “peace dividends” that benefit the people on the ground.
I would now like to tell you about some of the peace efforts in which we are involved. The three features I mentioned are all present in our involvement in Sri Lanka, where Norway is assisting the peace process as a neutral third-party facilitator at the parties’ own request.
Norway has facilitated the present peace negotiations between the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) since 1998. As facilitator, Norway’s role is to assist the parties in their efforts to reach a political solution. The nature of our efforts changes according to the stage the process has reached. A significant part of our effort focuses on promoting understanding between the parties: we spend much of our time acting as a channel of communication and helping them find common ground between their respective positions. An important part of our role as facilitator is also to ensure broad support for the process in the international community.
The peace process in Sri Lanka has made substantial progress since the parties entered into a cease-fire agreement in February of last year. The parties have held six sessions of peace negotiations since last September, focusing on three interrelated tracks. These are: consolidating security, addressing humanitarian and reconstruction needs in the war-devastated areas, and developing the elements of a political solution.
The parties have agreed on the basic principles of a political solution: internal autonomy based on a federal structure within a united Sri Lanka. They are working on giving these concrete form. However, the process of reaching and implementing a final settlement is complicated and will take time.
Meanwhile, maintaining the cease-fire is essential. The independent monitoring of the cease-fire agreement between the parties has helped them keep this up for 16 months. The Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, led by Norway and comprising observers from the five Nordic countries, is tasked with making independent rulings on alleged violations of the cease-fire. The monitoring mechanism helps build trust between the parties. It also has a deterrent function and ensures that violations of the cease-fire have a significant political cost, both at local and at international level.
It is crucial that the economic dividends of peace are experienced by the entire population of Sri Lanka – in the South as well as in the war-torn areas in the North and East. To this end, the Norwegian Government hosted a conference for donors in November 2002, which resulted in pledges to Sri Lanka totalling USD 60-70 million. For 2003 Norway has pledged a total of approximately USD 30 million in financial support. This includes long-term assistance, post-conflict transitional assistance, immediate humanitarian assistance and support for peace and reconciliation activities…
JustPeace was produced by Christine Dann, Tim Hannah and Keith Locke, MP
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