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Shipley Should Put Up Or Shut Up

6 September 2001

“It is time for Mrs Shipley to put up or shut up on her allegations against an Afghan refugee,” says Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff.

“She has so far provided no evidence linking Dr Lafraie to any crime or war crime despite the inferences she has made in the House against him.

“It is all too easy for a politician for shallow political motives to cast slurs on the reputation of an individual under the protection of parliamentary privilege.

“Mrs Shipley has an obligation either to back up her allegations with evidence or apologise to Dr Lafraie for what she has suggested about him.

“Unfortunately, the practice of defaming individuals while protected against any legal consequences for doing so has become a habit with her.

“Last week she was accusing senior military officers of sedition. This week she is alleging a person who with his family has sought refuge in our country from the oppression of the Taleban is in some sense a terrorist.

“If Mrs Shipley believes what she has alleged even though she has no evidence, she should have the courage of her convictions and come out from under parliamentary protection.

“Dr Lafraie was approved by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees for settlement in New Zealand.

Under the Refugee Convention no individual can get refugee status if there are serious reasons for considering that they have committed a war crime or crime against humanity or any serious non-political crime.

“As a victim of repression, he does not now deserve to be defamed by being accused of actions for which no evidence has been provided and which others have testified he is not guilty of,” Mr Goff said.


Ends

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