Open letter to British Prime Minister Tony Blair

March 28, 2006.

Mr Tony Blair,

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Dear Mr Blair,

Thank you for visiting our country, and for participating in the important Climate Change and Governance conference being held in Wellington this week. It is vital for the future of humanity and our planet that we all work together to meet the commitments made at Kyoto to reduce greenhouse gases.

We would, however, like to bring to your attention our strong opposition to the ongoing war in Iraq. We believe invasion of Iraq, led by American and British forces, was contrary to international law, and has been a disaster for the Iraqi people.

We are horrified at the high rate of killing, of combatants on all sides and of civilians. Every day, innocent Iraqis are being killed as a result of operations by both the coalition and insurgent forces. We have also been shocked at the serious mistreatment of prisoners, including torture, engaged in by the coalition forces, Iraqi security forces, and the insurgents

It is clear to us that the presence of the foreign occupying forces (including troops from Britain) is exacerbating the situation, breeding more hatred and conflict, and making it more difficult for Iraqis to achieve peace, democracy and national reconciliation. We are taking the opportunity of your visit to request that your government order the withdrawal of British forces from Iraq.

Yours sincerely,

Keith Locke MP, Green Party foreign affairs spokesperson

Marion Hancock, director, New Zealand Foundation for Peace Studies

Laila Harre, secretary, National Distribution Union

Edwina Hughes, coordinator, Peace Movement Aotearoa

Megan Hutchings, president, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

Joan McDonald, vice-president, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom