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Denis Halliday to Visit NZ next week

13 April 2000
Media statement for immediate release

Denis Halliday to Visit NZ next week; former United Nations Iraq Humanitarian Coordinator who resigned in protest at the sanctions

Media contact for Denis Halliday: Marten Hutt (04) 389 1706 or (04) 463 6527. Both nos have answerphones. Or email: marten.hutt@vuw.ac.nz

Or: Jeremy Rose Ph: 04 934 7410

Former United Nations assistant Secretary-general Denis Halliday resigned in late 1998 in protest at the sanctions against Iraq, ending a long and distinguished diplomatic career.

In New Zealand next week (17-20 April), Denis Halliday will address the issues of the legality of the sanctions, their humanitarian impact on Iraq's civilian population and how the sanctions have strengthened the hold that Saddam Hussein's regime has on Iraq.

Denis Halliday (57) is an Irishman who worked for the UN for 34 years. He is a specialist in Third World development issues. During his career he was stationed in Iran, Malaysia and Indonesia, as well as at UN headquarters in New York. On 1 September 1997 he was appointed UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq. He resigned thirteen months later in protest at the effect the UN Security Council imposed sanctions were having on the civilian population of Iraq. Denis Halliday's successor as coordinator of the UN "Oil for Food" programme. Hans Von Sponeck, also resigned in February 2000. Both resignations are unprecedented for the UN and made international headlines.

Halliday is in NZ after being in Australia for a week, with a similar mix of meeting politicians, media and public meetings as here. His NZ visit is being sponsored by the Iraq Sanctions Medical Alert Group (ISMAG), with financial support for his expenses from a wide variety of groups and individuals, most notably UNICEF, Quakers, ISMAG, and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW).

Halliday continues to teach at the UN School and a number of US universities (currently Lang Visiting Professor for Social Change at Swathmore College, Pennsylvania), and also is much in demand as a media commentator on the Iraq sanctions issue. Most recently (March 2000), he has been filming a documentary on the civilian impact of sanctions with John Pilger (for ITV), and Australia (ABC).

He is in Wellington Mon 17-Tuesday 18 April; Christchurch Wed 19 and Auckland Thurs 20-Fri 21 April.

As you can see from the schedule below, Halliday will be giving public meetings in all three centres, meeting with politicians (4 Cabinet Ministers; notably Goff on Tuesday), and there is very strong media interest.

His visit is extraordinarily timely in view of the recently announced (Feb-March 2000) "re-think" on sanctions policy announced by Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff, and a humanitarian focus for policy advice - a striking departure from the previous Government's support of the US/UK position on sanctions.

An ISMAG spokesman, Dr. Marten Hutt, said today that the recent statements by Phil Goff and Helen Clark have been widely reported internationally by Reuters and others as a significant policy shift. ISMAG notes that New Zealand is taking a lead in a re-consideration of policy. Its voice is well-respected in the UN, said Dr. Hutt. Dr. Hutt commented that it is clear that the new NZ Government is prepared to do far more than merely "hold the line" against pressure to lift sanctions, and is instead prepared to fundamentally question the civilian impact of sanctions. This is a bold and important foreign policy shift by New Zealand which we fully endorse.

The visit by Halliday will provide additional policy input on this issue for not only Labour/Alliance, but all Parliamentarians, Dr. Hutt said.

Schedule: Denis Halliday in NZ

Wellington Monday 17 April

7:45 am [for 8:10 am interview] TVNZ Breakfast News/6pm news.

9:20-10am. RNZ John Campbell [RNZ Kim Hill Show].

10:30 am Graham Kelly, MP, Foreign Affairs Select Committee Chairman.

12:30pm John Luxton MP.

1 pm. Evening Post. Mary Longmore.

2 pm. Peter Brown MP.

3pm. Newstalk ZB. Larry Williams.

4:15 pm. Lianne Dalziel MP

5:30-6:30pm. Institute of International Affairs public meeting "UN sanctions against Iraq: Where to from Here?". Victoria University of Wellington. MacLaurin Theatre 103, Kelburn Parade

8-9pm Interfaith Committee FIANZ.

Wellington Tuesday 18 April

9:30-10-00am. Marian Hobbs MP.

10:10-10:45am. Graham Fortune, Secretary of Defence.

11 am. Phil Goff, Minister of Foreign Affairs & Trade; Matt Robson, Minister of Disarmament/Associate Foreign Affairs.

Noon. Press calls: Victoria Main, Dominion; Ray Lilley, NBR; RNZ Morning Report

3:30-4:30 pm. Conference Room, MFAT, 13th Floor of Stafford House, 40 The Terrace. Chair: Maarten Wevers, Senior Management Group, Special Projects, plus several members of the Middle East and Africa, and the United Nations and Commonwealth Divisions.

6-7pm Reserved: TV3 Interview with Phil Goff and Denis Halliday (Wellington studio).

8:15pm Waiwhetu Peace Group. Uniting Church Hall, 6 Trafalgar Street, Lower Hutt. 20 mins talk on "Humanitarian conditions in Iraq: The impact of sanctions"

Christchurch Wednesday 19 April

9:30-10:15 am. Ron Mark MP. Electorate Office.

10:30-11:30am. Chris Moore. Christchurch Press.

Noon. Lunch. University of Canterbury Staff Club

12:45 pm. Public Meeting "Iraq and sanctions: International politics and international law". University of Canterbury, Students' Association, Shelley Common Room

2.30-3.30 pm. NGO meeting: QPS, UNANZ, New Internationalist, Christian World Service. Corso.

4 pm. Rod Donald MP

5-7 pm. Drinks, meet with 6-10 ChCh lawyers (incl. 3 QCs - Duncan Cotterill Boardroom). Talk for 15-20 mins on international law aspects of sanctions.

Auckland Thursday 20 April

NZ Herald (Matthew Dearnealey)

10am. Straight Talk. Radio Rhema.

11-1 Tear Fund lunch. interview for Tear Talk. Also to meet Oxfam, World Vision.

2pm. Wayne Mapp, MP

7:30 pm. Public meeting: Methodist Central Mission. "UN sanctions against Iraq: Where to from Here?"

ISMAG contact: Dr. Marten Hutt wk ph: (04) 463 6527 / hm: 389 1706 Fax: (04) 463 6568 marten.hutt@vuw.ac.nz


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