Open Letter To All Members Of Parliament!
Open Letter To All Members Of Parliament!
6 November 2007
OPEN LETTER TO ALL MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT!
How does support for the Terrorism Suppression Amendment Bill comply with Lab/Nat/ NZ 1st stated PARTY POLICY?
Please carefully consider how amendments to the Terrorsim Suppression Act, which are before the House are in keeping with these STATED POLICIES on justice' /and or 'law and order'.
Please carefully consider how you are going to vote on the Terrorism Suppression Amendment Bill, in order to keep faith with the VOTING PUBLIC.
Particularly MPs who are members of Labour, National and NZ First.
I have gone to your respective websites, to remind you of your above-mentioned current stated policies on 'justice' /and or 'law and order'.
They are listed below:
In order to assist informed debate on this issue - I have included the overview 'Explanatory Note' for the Terrorism Suppression Amendment Bill, and the Global Peace and Justice Media Release from 17 October 2007, which summarises key concerns about this legislation.
Please be reminded of the Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948
"Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,
Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law, .. "
Law and Order Policy
Government has a fundamental responsibility to protect the rights of its citizens, safeguard their security and ensure that the justice system is fair. A safe, secure and just society gives every citizen the opportunity to succeed.
It is not enough simply to be tough on crime. We must also be tough on the causes of crime, and provide a modern, effective, fair and accessible justice system through which ordinary New Zealanders get the rights they are fully entitled to demand.
National's 2005 Justice Policy
26 July 2005 - 14:47 - Dr Richard Worth http://www.national.org.nz/MP.aspx?Id=33
Justice An independent and efficient legal system is a cornerstone of democracy. The essential characteristics of the rule of law include the supremacy of law. That means everyone (including the Prime Minister) is subject to the law. It also requires a system of justice emphasising adjudication, law based on standards, and the importance of procedures. New Zealand's legal system is not working as well as it should, and reform is needed
JUSTICE NZ FIRST Policy
The foundation of New Zealand First's justice policy is based on the dual premises that we must adhere to the rule of law and that all New Zealanders must be equal before the law.
New Zealand First strongly believes that the principles of freedom and rights of New Zealanders are protected and enhanced by a justice system which provides easy access to the courts, the unbiased and efficient delivery of justice to all New Zealanders, and the protection of all New Zealanders from oppression.
The New Zealand system of justice is based on the Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, Habeas Corpus, Trial by Jury and the English Common Law and enhanced by the development of Statute law for the benefit of all New Zealanders.
New Zealand First is determined to ensure that the New Zealand justice system can provide these rights to the public of New Zealand.
JUSTICE AND LAW REFORM
The cornerstone of New Zealand First's justice and law reform policy is to enhance the public confidence in the judicial system, and to ensure that the system reflects principles of openness, accountability, independence, and integrity. New Zealand First also has some concern at the disposition of this current government to make significant constitutional change with little or no reference to the people.
"Terrorism Suppression Amendment Bill
Since the enactment of the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 (the Act) it has become clear that certain provisions of the Act are inconsistent with New Zealand's obligations under the Charter of the United Nations and the United Nations Security Council (the Security Council) resolutions on terrorism, and are also unworkable in practice or uncertain as to their effect. There have also been recent international developments that need to be incorporated into the Act. The proposals included in this Bill are set out below.
Designation of UN listed terrorist entities
Currently New Zealand is required to designate United Nations (UN) listed terrorist entities under the Act before they become subject to the provisions of the Act. The Bill amends the Act by removing this designation process and applying the provisions of the Act automatically to terrorist entities that are subject to the United Nations (Sanctions) Regulations 2001. These regulations recognise terrorist designations once they are listed by the United Nations Security Council.
These designations will remain in place until the entities are removed from the United Nations' terrorist list. This change will better reflect the mandatory nature of New Zealand's legal obligations under the Security Council's Al Qaeda and Taliban sanctions regime and removes the risk of inconsistency between New Zealand's international obligations under the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and New Zealand's domestic legal regime.
_The Act will continue to have a designation mechanism that can be used to designate terrorist entities not on the United Nations terrorist list. _ High Court extension of designations (for non-UN terrorist list entities)
_Currently, final designations expire after 3 years unless extended by the High Court. It is inappropriate for this process to apply to UN designations because New Zealand is obliged to maintain them until they are lifted by the Security Council. This Bill proposes that the 3-year review by the High Court be replaced by a 3-yearly review by the Prime Minister, and that it only apply to non-UN designations (that is, to designations made by the Prime Minister, and not by the UN). The Prime Minister would apply the same test as for the original designation."
SUMMARY OF THE MAIN POINTS : HOW THE TERRORISM SUPPRESSION AMENDMENT BILL ATTACKS OUR BASIC HUMAN AND DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS AND CIVIL LIBERTIES: GLOBAL PEACE AND JUSTICE MEDIA RELEASE
"17 October 2007
Why Thursdays' anti-terrorism bill is bad for New Zealand
Since 2001 our government has passed three pieces of legislation to "suppress terrorism" with the fourth now due in parliament tomorrow. This latest piece is the Suppression of Terrorism Bill 2007.
There will be many more such bills to follow in the future.
The government says it is just doing its part supporting international moves to isolate and control terrorism. In reality it's part of the US leadership's drive to have American foreign policy objectives adopted by governments around the world.
So what are the latest changes and why are they dangerous?
Change 1: Under the proposed law the definition of a terrorist changes to someone who, for political reasons, causes "serious disruption to an infrastructure facility, if likely to endanger human life…"
Effect: There are many examples of protest activity and civil disobedience from past events such as the 1981 Springbok tour which could now be classified as terrorist. (A better definition would be the UN definition of "criminal acts, including those against civilians, committed with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury, or taking of hostages, with the purpose to provoke a state of terror in the general public…")
Change 2: Under this legislation New Zealand would automatically adopt the UN list of terrorists and terrorist organisations. It is the US which dominates the compilation of these lists.
Effect: New Zealanders working to support liberation struggles, democracy and human rights overseas would now face the prospect of being charged with supporting terrorist organisations. Under the new proposal it would have been illegal to provide support for the African National Congress in the fight against apartheid or for campaigns to have Nelson Mandela released from jail. It could easily also be used against New Zealanders supporting Palestinian groups such as Hamas despite Hamas being democratically elected to power in the occupied territory of Palestine. (Previous legislation allowed support and assistance to organisations provided it was "for the purpose of advocating democratic government or the protection of human rights". This wording is to be removed)
Change 3: New Zealand would give up its right to make its own independent assessments of terrorists and terrorist designations.
Effect: Without the ability to make our own independent assessments we become captive to shonky, prejudiced, politically motivated overseas assessments such as those relating to Ahmed Zaoui. (Previously New Zealand adopted UN designations "in the absence of evidence to the contrary". This safeguard would be removed)
Change 4: The courts are removed from considering designations of terrorist or terrorist organisations. (At the moment if the Prime Minister designates a terrorist organisation then this is reviewable by the High court after three years)
Effect: Independent scrutiny of cases will no longer be available. The PM will be judge and jury. The US wants this because governments are then more open to international pressure. At least with the courts there is the semblance of independent scrutiny.
This assumption of power by politicians over court processes is demonstrated most clearly by the US with its treatment of Guantanemo Bay detainees and the CIA's "rendition" programme whereby suspected terrorists have been clandestinely transferred around the world for torture. In both cases the courts have been sidelined. It would be a disgrace for New Zealand to follow.
Under the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 a terrorist is defined as someone who, for political reasons, causes "…serious disruption to an infrastructure facility, if likely to endanger human life…" This broad definition would include many of the protests against the 1981 Springbok tour. It threatens to demonise legitimate political dissent. Even people committed to non-violence with no intention to harm anyone or damage property can qualify as terrorists.
Meanwhile the latest Terrorism Suppression Amendment Bill is being pushed through parliament. Under this law New Zealand would automatically adopt the UN (effectively the US) list of terrorists and terrorist organisations. A law like this in the 1980s would have made it illegal to provide support for the African National Congress in the fight against apartheid or for campaigns to have Nelson Mandela released from jail. Today groups such as Hamas, despite being democratically elected to government in occupied Palestine, would be a designated terrorist group (as it is in Australia)
A kiwi added to the list by another country (as a result of police action last week for example) would have great difficulty being removed from the list. Sweden and the Canada have faced huge difficulties with their citizens being designated in this way through the UN process.
The new legislation also sidelines our courts in favour of the Prime Minister designating and then reviewing terrorist classifications. Why should the PM be judge and jury? Under this proposal someone like Ahmed Zaoui wouldn't have had a chance. Prime Ministers are susceptible to international pressure. It is only a phone call away. At least with the courts there is the semblance of independent scrutiny.
The government says the police, SIS and lawmakers are all working hand in hand to keep New Zealand safe. The truth is that our lawmakers are blindly putting in place savage attacks on civil rights while the police and SIS are eager to test their new powers and are excited at the prospect of joining the war on terror.
As it is New Zealand's anti-terror legislation is set up to demonise dissent and legitimate political protest while removing civil rights safeguards. Dissent provides the oxygen on which a democracy depends. We throttle it at our peril.
• No terror charges
• Immediate bail for all arrestees (innocent until proven guilty)
• Withdraw the Terrorism Suppression Act and its amendments
Check out the website www.civilrightsdefence.org.nz
Monday's arrests Monday's police action in arresting 17 people on gun charges and raising the spectre of terrorism charges to follow is an attempt to soften the public up to the idea we have terrorism in New Zealand.
This creates a climate of fear and makes it easier to pass anti-terrorism laws which inevitably undermine the civil rights of New Zealanders and our relations with organisations overseas.
The government should withdraw this grubby piece of legislation.
Protested against SIS Amendment Act 1977.
1981 named by SIS as a 'subversive' on Muldoon's Springbok Tour list.
Have been a social justice campaigner on a variety of issues since 18 years old.
Am now a judicially recognised 'public watchdog' on Metrowater, water and Auckland Regional Governance matters.
Am, along with MANY others hugely concerned about this effective criminalising of dissent.
Whose door are the Police going to knock on (break down) next?
Is this the New Zealand for which those in the khaki uniforms who never came back fought and died?
What steps are YOU taking to help stop New Zealand moving towards a 'Police State'?
In years to come - what are your grandchildren and the history books going to remember you for?
Which way are YOU going to vote on the Terrorism Suppression Amendment Bill?