Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Government letting trade trump human rights

Behind-the-scenes meeting shows Govt letting trade trump human rights

The National Government is allowing trade to trump human rights, by doing deals with a regime accused of genocide and crimes against humanity, the Green Party said today.

The Green Party’s human rights spokesperson, Jan Logie, has released details of a meeting held in Auckland on May 8 between Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully and the External Affairs Minister of Sri Lanka.

The meeting, to advance dairy joint ventures, was held despite the UN Human Rights Council’s recent vote in favour of an investigation into alleged war crimes and human rights abuses in Sri Lanka, and ongoing concerns about human rights abuses there.

“The Minister kept the meeting quiet, and I can see why. It is morally wrong to help a regime that has been accused of genocide and war crimes,” said Ms Logie, who was detained in Sri Lanka last year for speaking out against human rights abuses.

“Extending our relationship at this time undermines international efforts to hold the regime to account.”

OIA documents released to the Green Party, and detailing official advice given to Murray McCully ahead of last year’s controversial CHOGM meeting in Colombo, again show the National Government putting trade ahead of human rights.

Despite warnings that “the human rights situation [in Sri Lanka] remains problematic”, that “freedoms for civil society and media are increasingly restricted” and that there is “ongoing discrimination against the Tamil minority” and “discrimination against other minorities as well”, the briefing documents say “CHOGM presents an opportunity to sign the New Zealand-Sri Lanka Dairy Cooperation Arrangement” and stress the importance of bilateral meetings to further the deal.

“The Government is not only ignoring the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, but it’s going a step further and providing diplomatic support to the Sri Lankan regime,” said Jan Logie.

When New Zealand was asked to co-sponsor the motion at the UN for the international war crimes investigation it declined to do so. At the meeting in Auckland, Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Minister thanked McCully for refraining.

Today marks the fifth anniversary of the Mullivaikkal Massacre in which tens of thousands of Tamil civilians were killed, maimed and displaced in the final days of the Sri Lankan Civil War.
Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Breaking: Prime Minister John Key Announces Resignation

Prime Minister John Key has announced that he’s resigning as Prime Minister in seven days’ time. He made the unexpected announcement at a 12.45 press conference at Parliament, called with less than an hour’s notice.

“It has been an enormous privilege to be Prime Minister of New Zealand, and these last eight years have been an incredible experience. Throughout these years I have given everything I could to this job that I cherish, and this country that I love.

“Bronagh has made a significant sacrifice during my time in politics, and now is the right time for me to take a step back in my career and spend more time at home.“ More>>

 

Gordon Campbell: On Anne Tolley’s Callous Folly

Last week’s conflict between Social Development Minister Anne Tolley and District Court judge Carolyn Henwood illustrated quite a few of the flaws in the system. More>>

ALSO:

Members’ Bills: Greens' Domestic Violence And Loans Bills Pulled From Ballot

Jan Logie’s Domestic Violence-Victims' Protection Bill introduces workplace protections for victims of domestic violence, including allowing victims to request paid domestic violence leave for up to 10 days... Gareth Hughes’ Bill allows Kiwis with student loans to defer their student loan repayments into a first home savings scheme. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA: Police Did Not 'Deliberately' Use Pepper Spray On 10-Year-Old

"When spraying the man, the officer did not properly consider the necessity of using pepper spray in a confined space, the likelihood that it would affect the other innocent passengers or the fact that he was using a more powerful spray." More>>

ALSO:

Donor Bill Passes: Full Income Compensation For Live Organ Donors

Unanimous cross-party support for the Compensation for Live Organ Donors Bill represents a critical step in reducing the burgeoning waiting list for kidney donations, according to Kidney Health New Zealand chief executive Max Reid. More>>

ALSO:

Earthquake Response: Emergency Legislation Prepared

Three new Bills have been drafted in the wake of the magnitude 7.8 earthquake on November 14 to ensure the government can enable affected communities to respond quickly and efficiently. More>>

ALSO:

Housing MPs: New Building(s) For Parliament

A new building will be erected on Parliament grounds to house Members of Parliament and their staff who currently work in leased accommodation in Bowen House. The plan has cross-Party support, apart from NZ First, said Parliament’s Speaker, Rt Hon David Carter. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news