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- West Papua Wants NZ Support.
- New Zealand’s Big Chance To Stand Up For Human Rights In Burma – If The Government Doesn’t Blow It.
Keith Locke returned from a three-day trip to West Papua on 12 April conveying a request from Papuan leaders that New Zealand champion their cause at the Pacific Islands Forum.
“I received a clear message that West Papua’s ‘special autonomy’ is not helping the people or protecting them from the Indonesian military,” said Keith, Green Party Foreign Affairs Spokesperson. “The people’s desire for independence from Indonesia is as strong as ever.
“The Papuan Parliamentarians I met are frustrated that four years of ‘special autonomy’ has produced so little for their people. They welcome President Yudhoyono’s recent initiative that an indigenous Papuan People’s Council be part of the provincial structure, but are concerned that it could end up being a toothless advisory body.
“The political strings are still being pulled in Jakarta, and Papuans who challenge that are suffering at the hands of the military. I saw real fear when I visited the highland town of Wamena. ‘Special autonomy’ has not stopped the military killing, arresting and harassing people there.
“The military are no longer confronting an armed rebellion. The leaders of the Papuan Presidium Council, the main representative body of the Papuan people, assured me that they are pursuing a peaceful path towards independence.”
Papuan leaders asked Keith if New Zealand could put their issue back on the agendas of the Pacific Island Forum and the United Nations.
“We also need to take up the West Papuan cause at the United Nations, which bears a moral responsibility for overseeing the forced incorporation of the territory into Indonesia in the 1960s. Papuans want the UN to review the bogus 1969 ‘Act of Free Choice’ and set in train a new process of self-determination for the West Papuan people.”
During his attendance at the Interparliamentary Union conference in Manila last week Keith Locke became worried that New Zealand could be embarrassed if Burma takes over the chair of ASEAN next year.
Delegates at the conference took a strong stand against this happening.
“New Zealand is a ‘dialogue partner’ of ASEAN, and next year its ‘dialogue country’ within ASEAN is due to rotate to Burma,” said Keith. “This could be highly embarrassing for New Zealand, in view of the current outcry in South East Asia about Burma taking over the chair of ASEAN next year. Burma has been a big issue at the Interparliamentary Union conference, with Philippine Senate President Franklin Drillon leading a strong campaign to stop Burma taking over the ASEAN presidency.
Exiled Burmese MPs were present at the conference, and many delegates signed a petition demanding ‘the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners, in particular Members of Parliament, as well as substantial and measurable political reform as prerequisites for Myanmar’s accession to the chairmanship of ASEAN in 2006’. The three New Zealand delegates signed the petition.
“Burma has an atrocious human rights record, and the New Zealand government should get in behind the efforts, particularly from Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines, to stop the military regime heading ASEAN next year,” Keith said.
Before leaving for the conference Keith had said tthat New Zealand should back Malaysian moves to block Burma taking over the chair of ASEAN next year.
“When Helen Clark meets the Malaysian Prime Minister this week, she should pledge her support for the Malaysian Government’s stand against Burma,” he said.
“The Malaysian Government is rightly concerned that ASEAN’s reputation will suffer if Burma take over the group’s presidency. The Burmese junta is one of the most repressive regimes in the world.
“Government MPs are supporting a motion in the Malaysian Parliament calling for Burma to be passed over as chair of ASEAN. We should join with these Malaysian MPs in calling for the release of the Burmese democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi and moves towards elections.
“Burma has been let off lightly by ASEAN countries in the past. It is commendable that some ASEAN nations are now taking a more active interest in democratic change in that country. We should support them.”
- Give Mordechai A Kiwi Passport!
- Hear Keith Locke In Lower Hutt
- It’s Not Cricket (Robert Mugabe’s Brutal Rule Of Zimbabwe) – So Support The ‘Boycott The Cricket Tour’ Call.
- West Papua Documentary
Friday, 15 April is the deadline for the return of signatures on the petition requesting that Mordechai Vanunu (the Israeli anti-nuclear whistleblower) be given a New Zealand passport. The petition is on line at
Peace Action Wellington – Mordechai Vanunu petition
Tuesday, 19 April speaking on ‘War on terror or war on people?’ 8 pm at the Waiwhetu Uniting Church Hall, 6 Trafalgar Street, Lower Hutt.
Sign the online petition against the tour at
Say No to Zimbabwe Tour
– For many, freedom is a right taken for granted. For others, its pursuit is the essence of their existence. Witness the 35-years-and-counting desperate struggle for autonomy taking place on New Zealand’s back door step on the Tuesday night international documentary WEST PAPUA, screening on Maori Television on Tuesday April 26 at 8.30 PM.
Keith Locke Spoke on New Zealands disgraceful level of aid in Parliament on March 29. His speech is reproduced below:
The Government has been under a lot of pressure over the last couple of months over the pitiful level of overseas aid.
The select committee report on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade stated that New Zealand’s ratio of official development assistance to gross national income is currently 0.24 percent, compared with the target of 0.7 percent set by the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.
The 0.24 percent level has been present throughout the 5 years of the Labour Government.
Last March the aid organisations in New Zealand were so upset that they joined together and the Council for International Development in what they called a “PointSeven Campaign” to invest in a better world by getting our level of aid up to 0.7 percent of gross national income (GNI) by the year 2015.
This month the Government has had two further embarrassments – firstly, the Norwegian Prime Minister, Kjell Bondevik, visited New Zealand. As he spoke around the country he said that Norway had a level of 0.96 percent of GNI, which is exactly four times our 0.24 percent. He said that Norway would shortly go up to 1.0 percent of GNI. The Government had a further embarrassment about a week ago when Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary-General, made a big speech on the Millennium Development Goals.
He said that nations had to get up to that 0.7 level very quickly if those development goals were to be met – such as halving the number of people in the world who live on less than $US1 a day. There are 1.2 billion such people in the world today. It is a disgraceful figure.
We have to do something towards getting to 0.7 percent. Kofi Annan said every country must have a timetable to get to that level by 2015. New Zealand does not have a timetable. A year ago the Government talked about getting to an interim target of 0.35 percent of GNI by the year 2006-07, but nothing was done on that. There is no timetable.
I would like the Minister to explain why there is no timetable. There is no reason.
New Zealanders support overseas aid. We saw that with money give to the tsunami victims. Virtually 100 percent of the New Zealand population said it was great when the Government came out with a special package of $52 million this year, plus $16 million over the next four years.
All the Government needs to do to get to that 0.7 target by 2015 is to give about that amount extra each year – roughly $60 million a year to 2015. The Government should have the courage to do that. People do buy into it.
One-third of the aid that Norway gives goes through non-government organisations. It has a huge number of people on the ground in overseas countries, and when those people return they help build a consensus in the country for a high level of overseas development assistance. The Norwegian Prime Minister said – and he is a Christian Democrat conservative Prime Minister – “there is a national consensus. We’re giving a high level of overseas aid, and we need to give it.”
Those Millennium Development Goals are very laudable. For instance, beyond reducing the number of people who live on US$1 a day or less, the Millennium Development Goals aim to halve the proportion of people in the world who do not have access to, say, drinking water – and there are 1 billion of those people – halve the number of people who do not have basic sanitation; there are 2.4 billion of such people, and to get universal primary education for all boys and girls in the world. There are 900 million people in the world today who are illiterate – two thirds of them are women. We need decent conditions for the 1 billion slum dwellers in the world; we need to reduce child mortality by two-thirds – and 10 million children a year die because of preventable disease.
We need to put the effort in to do our part in the world, but we are not. We are way down the bottom of the OECD table at the moment.
It is a disgrace.
JustPeace was produced by Christine Dann, Tim Hannah and Keith Locke, MP
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