JustPeace #82

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  • Govt Fails To Save Black Caps From Mugabe’s Grasp

  • , was Rod’s disappointed response to learning that the Black Tour of Zimbabwe would go ahead.

    “It would be so easy for the Government to step in and stop the tour, with no financial penalty for New Zealand Cricket,” Rod Donald. “Helen Clark is holding a ‘Get-Out-of-Zimbabwe Free’ card, but she has chosen not to play it.”

    “The International Cricket Council recognises the right of governments to pull their national sides out of a cricket tour for political reasons. In such instances, the cricketing board of that country is not liable for a fine.


    Rod’s release


  • People In Glass Houses Should Not Throw (Pol) Pots

  • was the title of a speech Keith gave in the House on Wednesday 22, pointing out that the two MPs who most frequently falsely accuse him of having supported Pol Pot were both members of New Zealand Governments that actually did support Pol Pot in the 1970s and 80s.

    The full speech is available at:

    People In Glass Houses Should Not Throw (Pol) Pots


  • Victory For Due Process.

  • Keith Locke welcomed the Supreme Court’s June 21 decision in the Zaoui case, saying the important due process considerations ordered would make it difficult for Mr Zaoui to be deported back to possible torture and death in Algeria.

    “It is good that the Supreme Court has upheld the Court of Appeal’s decision – that the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has to find a very real security danger before the Security Risk Certificate against Mr Zaoui can be upheld,” said Keith, the Greens’ Security and Intelligence Spokesperson.

    “I am confident that the Inspector General will find the ‘threatened harm’ is not ‘substantial’, which is the high bar the Supreme Court has set. It means the diplomatic arguments – the SIS Director said in the summary of allegations that ‘like-minded’ countries would be upset if Mr Zaoui was allowed to stay here – would not be sufficient reason to expel him.

    “It is also good that the Supreme Court requires the Inspector-General to conduct a thorough judicial-type process, where all character and other evidence in Mr Zaoui’s favour can be considered.

    “It is also heartening that the Supreme Court has ruled that Mr Zaoui cannot be deported into a situation of death or torture, though it has felt obliged to leave that decision to a politician, the Immigration Minister, at the end of the process. At least the Court is requiring the Minister to conduct a thorough inquiry into the dangers Mr Zaoui would face that will not be truncated by the Act’s ‘three days’ and will take full account of our Bill of Rights and obligations under international human rights treaties.


    Keith’s release


  • Human Rights Policy Launched.

  • The Greens restated the Party’s commitment to a tolerant diverse New Zealand on 19 June, with the launch of the Human Rights Policy, launched at a special multi-ethnic event in Auckland today.


    the release

    – and see the speeches given at the launch by Jeanette Fitzsimons and Keith Locke under Analysis, below.

  • Caps Off

  • . The Government should heed a Zimbabwean plea to cancel the Black Caps tour said Green Party Co-Leader Rod Donald on 19 June.

    Welshman Ncube, the general secretary of Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change, said on 18 June that the Black Caps’ tour should be called off.

    “The Zimbabwean Opposition is well placed to comment on whether a New Zealand cricket tour would help or hinder the odious Robert Mugabe,” Rod said. “Helen Clark should be taking Mr Ncube’s comments very seriously and formally advise NZ Cricket not to tour Zimbabwe.”

    The ‘force majeure’ clause in NZ Cricket’s future tours agreement with other national cricket boards allows for a tour to be called off without financial penalty if the cancellation is the result of a Government directive.

    Rod said that Robert Mugabe’s recent bulldozing of the homes of 250,000 poor Zimbabweans made the need for firm action even more urgent.

    “In 1994, Helen Clark said, ‘The collapse of apartheid did not occur in the 1990s without significant international pressure … the systematic violation of human rights in South Africa was eventually taken very seriously by the international community, but it took many years, through a combination of economic and other sanctions, and diplomatic pressure, to bear fruit’. It’s time for the Prime Minister to lead an international sporting boycott of Zimbabwe.”


    Rod’s release


  • PM Must Challenge Musharraf Over Torture

  • was Keith’s call on 16 June, saying that the Prime Minister should challenge Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf over torture, honour killings, and disdain for democracy when she met him on his visit to New Zealand on 17 June.

    “Musharraf is all but a dictator, and the Prime Minister will be betraying the Pakistani people if she doesn’t speak out strongly against his shocking human rights record during his visit here,” Keith said.

    “The routine torture of political dissidents in Musharraf’s prisons has been condemned around the world, including in US State Department reports. Pakistan’s Human Rights Commission estimates 5000 cases of police torture a year, including beating, whipping the soles of feet, and administering electric shocks.

    “Miss Clark says she will be discussing counter-terrorism with Mr Musharraf. We ask her not to accept excuses from the President that the ‘war on terror’ justifies the use of force against prisoners and their detention without trial. The truth is that many ordinary Pakistanis have been terrorised by the country’s security forces.”

    Mr Musharraf had also failed to protect women’s rights, and our Prime Minister should relay our disquiet, Keith said.

    “At least 1500 women are killed in Pakistan each year for ‘dishonouring’ their families. Rape victims are discouraged from laying a complaint. Women can even be charged for the crimes of family members.

    “It is good that Mr Musharraf is visiting our nuclear-free country, and it gives us the chance to impress upon him the need for Pakistan to extend the thawing relations with India to a discussion about nuclear disarmament. We should tell Mr Musharraf that we see Pakistan’s nuclear programme as a threat not only to those living on the subcontinent, but to the whole world,” said Keith.


    Keith’s release



  • Watch Out/Listen Out For:

    • “The Doctors, the Depleted Uranium, and the Dying Children’ screening on TV1 this Sunday 26 June at 11pm. It is a very powerful film about the use of DU in Iraq. It is being screened late at night because of the disturbing images of children who have been born deformed and those who are dying of cancers.
    • An interview on Radio New Zealand’s Spectrum programme with Bunny McDiarmid and Martini Gotje from Greenpeace – recollecting their life on board the Rainbow Warrior. This will air on the actual anniversary of the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior on Sunday 10th July, 12.30pm, National Radio.
    • Look out for two other films coming up soon as well. One on the Rainbow Warrior which will be screened on the anniversary of the sinking – 10 July and another is on the Christmas Island Tragedy about the British government who covertly used Kiwi sailors to test the effects of radiation on humans in 1957.


  • Celebrating Diversity – Green Human Rights Policy Launch.

  • Kiwis from many ethnic and cultural backgrounds were invited to the launch of the Greens’ human right policy in Auckland on Sunday June 19. Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons introduced the principles underlying the policy, and Keith Locke filled in the details. Their speeches are reproduced below.

  • Jeanette Fitzsimons:
  • ”Good afternoon. I’d like to welcome all of you, whether you are new migrants or your ancestors have been here for generations. It’s great to see New Zealanders of so many ethnic origins – Pacific Islands, Sri Lanka, Middle East, Palestine, Philippines and China to name just a few.

    All of us in New Zealand are here because we or our ancestors came here in search of a better life. All of us come from people who have had to learn to live in this land with its unique climate, plants and animals, culture and political processes. All of us are still learning – and as we do so, contributing to the richness and diversity that is Aotearoa.

    My best friend when I was ten-years-old was a Chinese girl. She was a third-generation New Zealander but I learned from her that not all families have the same cultural traditions or the same expectations of their children, and that the differences between people are interesting and enrich us all. We all understand much better who we are if we know about other cultures, just as we never fully understand how our own language works until we learn another. I really valued the opportunity to learn that at a young age.

    The Greens want to see a society here in New Zealand that welcomes diversity in the knowledge that it adds richness to all our lives. We want to increase the quota of refugees we accept, knowing that as a small country we cannot do much to reduce the international crisis of suffering, but that we will do what we can.

    We want to see a society that doesn’t think the job is over when people cross our borders, but that offers practical help to learn language, find homes and jobs and schooling, and build understanding of what is unique in New Zealand. That is particularly our Treaty relationship, which we expect all new migrants to honour, and our unusual biodiversity of unique plants and animals, which we hope new citizens will grow to love and care for.

    We recognize that people will never be truly at home if their families are not able to join them, particularly if those families are in danger. So we emphasise family reunification in accepting new migrants.

    We want a country where people feel secure that they have equal rights, regardless of their ethnic origin, religion, gender or political beliefs.

    That is why we are standing up against the recent attacks by those who are whipping up fear of difference, fear of people “not like us” for a political agenda. It is easy to sow hate and fear. It is harder to build tolerance and inclusiveness. Few people have been prepared to speak out about this. But that is why you and I are here today. I want a society where most people are secure and confident enough about who they are to welcome others who are not like us, to share this land, within the limits of our resources and our ecology.

    One way to build that society is by being very careful who you vote for in the next election, because government policy can be used to sow either division and discrimination, or inclusiveness and pride in our diversity. Imagine a world where Winston Peters was Minister of Immigration – migrants and refugees already in New Zealand could find themselves herded like cattle by “flying squads” in the middle of the night and loaded onto planes. And those wanting to come here may be met by an iron curtain for which only the white middle class from Britain and other European countries have a key. It has not passed me by that while Winston is out there ranting about migrants, he has had little to say about his deputy leader, who himself immigrated here from Britain.

    And we should note that a vote for either National or Labour could lead to Winston being able to implement his policies of discrimination. Neither of them has ruled out a coalition with NZ First and Winston has not said who he would work with in a new government. A party vote for the Greens at this election, therefore, is a vote for inclusiveness and a vote against bigotry.

    Winston and I seem to look at the same reality but see quite different things. When Winston Peters walks down Queen Street and sees Asian faces, he wonders whether he is still in New Zealand. When I walk down Queen Street and see Asian faces, I see the essence of New Zealand: the coming together of many peoples, under a shared vision of a fair, compassionate, sustainable society.

    When Winston Peters realises that we are taking in refugees from the world’s war-torn places, he cries blue murder, and shouts ‘bludger!’ A Cambodian taxi driver recently told me his story of how, alone among his family, he barely escaped mass murder in his native country – a story that had me in tears as I reached my Parliamentary office. I was overwhelmed at how fortunate this country is, and relieved and thankful and yes, a little proud, that he had found safety and a job in New Zealand.

    By voting for the Green Party you are voting for a Government that will reject the fear-mongering and the hate, and will work to build an inclusive society that values all its people.

    Thank you again for coming today, and I look forward to hearing the other speakers – our own MP Keith Locke, spokesperson on human rights; Mua our Pacifica candidate, and Del, Nirupa and Tuma, representing communities who are enriching our cultural life in New Zealand.

  • Keith Locke:
  • ”It is my privilege to be able to present to you a very important document for the Green Party, our Human Rights policy. This policy stems from the principle that none of us are truly free as long as any of our fellow citizens are not.

    The rights we have today are the fruits of many people’s sacrifice. Today, in many countries, people are being detained, even killed, just to achieve rights we often take for granted: freedom of speech, freedom from discrimination, and the right to determine their own destiny.

    One such case I have been dealing with this last week is that of a young woman, Mukhtaran Bibi, sentenced to be gang-raped for a crime allegedly committed by her brother. It took an international effort to get the rapists behind bars, but recently most of them have been freed on appeal. Yesterday, I received an email from Pakistan thanking the New Zealand Greens for supporting Ms Bibi’s case, which she is trying to pursue by going on an overseas speaking tour. The Greens have been trying to draw the attention of visiting Pakistani President, Pervez Musharraf, to this issue – because his government has stopped this brave woman from leaving the country.

    The Pakistani who emailed me yesterday said of “our village heroine” (as he called Ms Bibi) “things aren’t good for her. Deprived of her passport, she has been shunted back under armed escort to her village of Meerwala, where her rapists are out on bail. I am sure she is not feeling particularly secure. Keep fighting for her.”

    The Green Party will continue to fight for Ms Bibi and many others we are trying to help.

    The struggle for human rights is worldwide, and the Green policy we are presenting today is an internationalist one. It says that in all our dealings with foreign governments, the interests of disadvantaged and disempowered communities should be in the forefront. This means, for example, hard talking with the visiting Pakistani president about his government’s violations of civil liberties. It also means standing up for the Tibetan people during trade talks in Beijing – something our Prime Minister found very difficult to do when she was there.

    But human rights are not just about democracy and civil liberties. They include social, economic and environmental rights – and equity between countries in this respect. There is still a huge gap between rich and poor, within and between nations. New Zealand, as a richer country, has a duty to help the development of poorer countries and we must urgently set a timetable to meet the UN target of 0.7 percent of GNI to overseas aid by 2015. The Labour government’s record here has been miserable, going from 0.23 percent when it came to power in 1999, to only 0.27 percent in this year’s budget.

    It would not be difficult for New Zealand to reach this target. Most Kiwis would applaud if we really upped the aid contribution. New Zealanders are a compassionate and generous people, and dug deep into their pockets to help the tsunami victims.

    The Greens want our country to be seen as a good international citizen, helping development, and upholding all the United Nations human rights conventions – including those preventing discrimination against women, children, workers, and the draft on indigenous rights. The Greens are against all forms of discrimination, be it on the basis of nationality, ethnic origin, religion, political belief, gender, gender identification, sexuality, marital status, family and reproductive status, age, disability or socio-economic background. We want the extension of our anti-discrimination laws to achieve this.

    In the human rights field, we can’t rest on our laurels. Right now some politicians are cultivating hostility towards those new migrants who don’t happen to be white. They are being portrayed as a threat to the New Zealand way of life. The Greens take the opposite view. We welcome diversity and celebrate the way each ethnic group adds to and enriches New Zealand culture. The Greens stand for a tolerant, diverse society, where everyone gets a fair go.

    Winston Peters sees New Zealand in only two colours, white European and Maori, and views other ethnic groups as alien. The Greens, to the contrary, champion a New Zealand of many colours, where people of every race and religion live together in harmony. Championing such a multi-ethnic society, in no way contradicts our adherence to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and respect for Maori as the tangata whenua in Aoteaora/New Zealand.

    Our multi-ethnic society is being built on the bi-cultural foundation established by the Treaty, and at the ethnic functions I attend I usually find the organizers have gone to considerable effort to involve Maori. This bi-culturalism is advanced by Maori being involved at all stages of the immigration process – from policy formation to education for new migrants.

    The Greens strongly support a tolerant multi-ethnic society on bi-cultural foundations. If you give your party vote to the Green Party this election you are voting for stronger government effort against racial intolerance and more support for ethnic associations and councils. We will fully support the Race Relations Commissioner and others in the Human Rights Commission in their work to counter prejudice and discrimination, give full backing to the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs, and establish a stand alone Ministry of Ethnic Affairs.

    While we already have a Minister of Ethnic Affairs, currently Chris Carter, we are in the ludicrous situation that there is no Ministry to properly promote this work. One task of the new Ministry would be to encourage and assist ethnic associations to reach out into the wider community, particularly through the schools, so that the whole society has a better multi-cultural understanding.

    Of course, we would also be providing better education for new migrants about history, culture and human rights in New Zealand – including providing everyone with a copy of the New Zealand Bill of Rights and the Treaty of Waitangi in their preferred language. We would also provide adequate resources for an English As A Second Language course for all migrants who need them, and make sure they have adequate housing and health services. New migrants are usually driven to get into the workforce, but often suffer discrimination in hiring. This problem has to be addressed, with employer awareness programmes and improved migrant training. It is shameful that so many migrant professionals have been left adrift with too few places in bridging courses, and a lack of opportunity to prove their ability through on-the-job supervision.

    Refugees deserve special consideration in our re-settlement programme. There are 20 million refugees in the world, many just surviving on the barest essentials in camps. Unlike some heartless politicians, we welcome the opportunity to take in refugees who have suffered so much in the home countries – and will increase New Zealand’s refugee quota from 750 to 1000. Unlike Mr Peters, we don’t see refugees as a threat but as a great asset to our multi-cultural society. The Algerian asylum seeker, Ahmed Zaoui, is already making a significant contribution in his lectures around the country on Islam, the West and religious tolerance – despite a totally unwarranted Security Risk Certificate hanging over him.

    A vote for the Greens is a vote to get rid of such Security Risk Certificates, whereby a politician, the Minister of Immigration, can override the decisions of a judicial body, the Refugee Status Appeals Authority. This must stop. All approval processes for visitors, migrants or refugees must be fair and transparent and with any evidence from overseas agencies subject to the normal rules of evidence, and with full judicial appeal rights. The Greens would get rid of all laws and procedures which have come in under the guise of the “war against terror” that undermine our civil rights. The New Zealand Bill of Rights Act would be strengthened to make sure all new laws meet its requirements.

    One of the blackest marks on the present Labour government has been the two year imprisonment of Ahmed Zaoui. The Greens would ensure that all asylum seekers are treated humanely, and detention only used in exceptional circumstances, where there is a genuine security risk.

    We also support freer movement of people from Samoa to New Zealand. No member of the Barmy Army had any trouble coming into New Zealand, visa free, and Kiwi employers, short of labour, are now busy trying to recruit them. Yet despite our special relationship with Samoa, reflected in our Treaty of Friendship, Samoan people are not even allowed a visitor’s visas to seek work in New Zealand.

    Unfortunately, the present government has panicked somewhat in the face of Mr Peters’ scaremongering about people coming here from Iraq and other war-torn countries. The approval systems are now even more discriminatory against people from poorer countries – and MPs like me are fielding angry complaints from New Zealand residents who can’t even get their relatives here for a short visit.

    A party vote for the Green Party is a vote to stand up to Mr Peters’ smearing on refugees and migrants from non-European countries.

    The Green Party stands for a New Zealand which upholds the rights of all communities, which celebrates diversity and which gives everyone a fair go.

    We champion a world where people live in peace, where everyone’s contribution is respected, and where we work together to use the world’s resources equitably and sustainably.”

JustPeace was produced by Christine Dann, Tim Hannah and Keith Locke, MP

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