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People Against Prisons Aotearoa to oppose weapons expo

People Against Prisons Aotearoa (PAPA) will be joining Peace Action Wellington, Peace Action Hamilton, Auckland Peace Action, and Peace Action Manawatū to oppose the weapons expo in Palmerston North today.

The expo, run annually by the New Zealand Defence Industry Association, is an opportunity for weapons manufacturers and private prison operators to network and sell their merchandise.

“New Zealand is being used as a base of operations for war profiteers of the worst kind. Companies present today manufacture nuclear weapons and run Australia’s refugee concentration camps,” says PAPA spokeswoman Emilie Rākete.

Serco, which runs Auckland South Corrections Facility and used to run Mount Eden Corrections Facility, will be present. “Serco’s contract at Mount Eden was cancelled because of the gross human rights abuses it oversaw, including prisoners being forced into fight clubs,” says Rākete.

In a high-profile case in 2015 at the Auckland South Corrections Facility, Serco placed a transgender prisoner in a cell with a man shortly after she had been assaulted. That man then allegedly raped her.

“It is unconscionable that Serco and other war profiteers are being allowed to go about their business. The entire purpose of these companies’ existence is the extraction of profit from war, bloodshed, and misery,” says Rākete.

“There is no place for these death dealers in a country that supposedly values human rights.”

“New Zealanders have mobilised year after year to shut the weapons expo down. We will never stop opposing people who benefit from human suffering.”

“We are proud to stand alongside community opposition to the arms trade today.”

ENDS

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