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NZ Women’s Peace Organisation Supports Call for SAS Inquiry

NZ WOMEN’S PEACE ORGANISATION SUPPORTS CALL FOR SAS INQUIRY

WILPF AOTEAROA PRESS RELEASE 24 MARCH 2017

The oldest women’s peace organisation in New Zealand is supporting calls for a full inquiry into allegations that New Zealand soldiers were involved in a serious military attack on civilians in Afghanistan in 2010 while on duty there.

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) Aotearoa spokesperson Liz Remmerswaal says an inquiry is crucial, not only for the integrity of New Zealand and its operations overseas, but also for the women, men and children who may have been victims of this raid and have seen no justice.

The allegations are in a new book released this week called ‘Hit And Run’ by NZ journalists Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson, but have been denied by the government today. The book alleges that 21 civilians were killed and injured, many of them women and children, after SAS attacks on two villages in Baghran province which they mistakenly believed contained insurgents who had attacked a New Zealand patrol several weeks earlier, killing a NZ soldier.

The books says the SAS failed to help the injured, and then the Defence Force and the government tried to keep the whole thing secret.

However it appears that the allegations come from trusted sources within the military and can be substantiated, and may even result in a charge of war crimes to the International Criminal Court.

Mrs Remmerswaal says these are serious allegations that arise from the authors’ many interviews with families in Afghanistan and with members of the New Zealand SAS. It is important that they be dealt with whether to clear the name of our army or to ensure justice is done for victims

The New Zealand Government has the authority to establish an independent inquiry and Prime Minister English and Defence Minister Brownlee must ensure this happens quickly, thoroughly, and impartially.

“There needs to be a full, principled and independent inquiry into the actions described in the book, which if confirmed would serious breach international law,”says Mrs Remmerswaal.

ENDS

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