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Christian Heritage Policy For Foreign Affairs

20 October 1999

Robin Corner
Foreign Affairs

Christian Heritage Three-Point Policy Platform For Foreign Affairs

Indonesia poised for further atrocities in Ambon

In the second week of October, 24 Christians were shot dead by the Indonesian military in a church where they sought shelter in Ambon, the principal island of the Molacca Islands, Indonesia. Afterwards, the church and bodies were burned. Concerned Christian leaders in Ambon are calling for the UN to go immediately and investigate. 20,000 armed militia are massed in Ambon and it is feared that they are poised to massacre the Christian and ethnic Chinese population . According to a New South Wales Council of Churches report there are 60,000 Christian refugees sheltering in cramped conditions in churches and school buildings in Ambon, because their homes have been destroyed.

This shocking report shows that East Timor is not an isolated situation in Indonesia. Other areas of Indonesia where non-Muslims are in danger include Irian Jaya, Kalimantan and Sulawesi. Yet despite this, the New Zealand Government is attempting to negotiate with the ASEAN grouping of nations, of which Indonesia is the leading nation, a free trade zone to be in place by 2010. Another ASEAN nation is Burma, which is currently practising genocide on its minority Karen, Karenni and other peoples.

These trade negotiations are morally irreprehensible if human rights requirements are not included in the dialogue. Would our trade negotiators have tried to negotiate with Hitler during the holocaust years?


1. No trade rights without human rights
Acceptable human rights must be a pre-requisite for trade agreements. There is surely a consensus within New Zealand to exert some sort of realistic pressure against gratuitous murder and attempted genocide from would-be trading partners.

2. Strengthen ties with the US and the west
The voices claiming that "New Zealand is an Asian nation and the Asian nations are our future partners" have gone strangely quiet since East Timor. Dissembling Indonesia only understands one language - the language of force. Christian Heritage is not calling for war here but we are calling for strong defensive ties with relatively civilised countries.

3. Increase defence funding
New Zealand must have a realistic defence force to maintain any sort of credibility with our natural allies. Where are the voices saying "hospitals are more important than frigates" now? It is obvious we need both.

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