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Greens ensure vital human rights in new anti-terrorism law

Green Party media statement

24 October 2019

Green Party ensures vital human rights and process safeguards will be inserted in new anti-terrorism law

The Green Party has negotiated important civil liberties changes in the proposed Terrorism Suppression Bill which will now establish human rights and process safeguards.

“We’ve ensured that foreign convictions and deportations won’t be accepted without proper scrutiny and we’ve ended the use of secret evidence without an advocate,” said Golriz Ghahraman, Green Party spokesperson for Justice.

“We’ve been clear from the start about our key concerns. Our position in Government has allowed us to negotiate and get agreement from the Minister. We’re now comfortable voting for the Bill at first reading while we continue work to improve it as it progresses.

“The Green Party has a long history of standing up for civil liberties when so-called antiterrorism laws breach fundamental human rights. We are happy to support this law to first reading because of the changes that satisfy our human rights kaupapa.

“Today we eliminated the risk that this new law will recognise dodgy convictions from overseas jurisdictions that do not adhere to our high standards of fair trial and our definition of what constitutes terrorism.

“We have also made sure that international best practice on the use of classified information is guaranteed in this legislation. Because of the change inserted by the Green Party, this Bill will never allow for secret evidence to be used in a case without the accused having a form of representation, as happened in the Zaoui case.

“The use of classified information will only occur with the protection of a judge, and the lawyer appointed to assist the accused person will have access to the information, thus ending the use of secret evidence without an advocate.

“The Law Commission recommends these sorts of safeguards in order to ensure fairness where terror allegations are made. And the Green Party agrees and believes the Law Commission are the experts in this area.

“We’re also pleased to say that the National Party have been prevented from blackmailing the Government into draconian law changes that go far beyond what is necessary just so they can appear to be tough on law and order, despite all evidence suggesting that’s the wrong path to take.

“Today we are helping to move New Zealand away from a pattern of gung-ho lawmaking that has undermined civil liberties through knee-jerk reactions to the threat of terrorism.”

ENDS

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