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Terrorism Bill Vague and Sweeping

Auckland, 6 December, 2001

Greenpeace has called the proposed government bill on terrorism unacceptably vague and sweeping following its submission to the Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade select committee.

Greenpeace, together with a number of other non-government organisations, has made submissions raising concerns about the potential for the bill to breach fundamental human rights if changes are not made.

In its submission Greenpeace proposed that the bill restrict the definition of terrorism to acts involving violence; reject definitions aimed at political, religious and ideological motivations, eliminate automatic designation of groups as terrorist and that the Bill should include a sunset clause.

Without such changes Greenpeace argues that the Bill could in its current stifle legitimate forms of protest like the Springbok protestors of 1979.

“The proposed bill is a kneejerk reaction, full of vague definitions and granting sweeping powers which are undemocratic and unnecessary”, said Greenpeace Lawyer, Duncan Currie. “In its current form it could unnecessarily interfere with democracy and civil rights.”

Greenpeace was itself the target of State terrorism when the French government bombed and sank the “Rainbow Warrior” in Auckland harbour killing Fernando Pereira in July 1985.

New Zealand is one of a number of countries that have proposed or amended legislation relating to terrorism in the wake of the September 11 attacks in the US.

Public submissions closed on Friday.

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