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National calls for action against Nigeria

Wayne Mapp National Foreign Affairs Spokesperson

21 August 2002

National calls for action against Nigeria

New Zealand should condemn the decision by a Nigerian court to uphold the sentence of death by stoning of a young Nigerian woman, says National's Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Dr Wayne Mapp.

"When Commonwealth countries allow barbaric sentences to be handed out by their courts, they should be condemned. Our Government should be calling on the Commonwealth to take appropriate action to ensure Nigeria fulfils its Commonwealth commitments.

"Countries have obligations as Commonwealth members and a justice system that observes minimum standards is surely fundamental. Religious autonomy is not an excuse for a barbaric form of punishment that belongs in the Middle Ages.

"New Zealand must not support Nigeria in any way until this issue is resolved, and I urge the Prime Minister to use the opportunity of the Earth Summit in South Africa to raise the matter with other Commonwealth leaders, either formally or informally," says Dr Mapp.

Ends

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