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Petition on Disappearance Convention Launched

No Right Turn launches petition on Disappearance Convention

Tuesday, 5 August, 17:00

Press Release: No Right Turn

No Right Turn, New Zealand's liberal blog, has launched a petition urging the government to sign and ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

"The Convention is a major UN human rights instrument, and it is outrageous that the government has not signed it," said blogger Idiot/Savant. "While enforced disappearance does not happen in New Zealand, we should be working to establish an international regime to ensure it is punished around the world - just as we did for torture."

The Convention outlaws enforced disappearance, and requires its parties to cooperate to ensure that offenders are prosecuted or extradited to face justice. It also strengthens minimum standards around imprisonment and establishes a monitoring system to ensure that prisoners cannot disappear. So far, 73 states, including most of Europe and South America, have signed it. While the New Zealand government officially supports the Convention, it refuses to sign it, citing inconsistencies with other international law. [1]

Enforced disappearance is the practice of detaining people, then refusing to acknowledge their detention or whereabouts, thereby placing them outside the protection of the law. [2] That lack of oversight allows victims to be tortured and murdered with impunity. Disappearance was widespread in South America during the 70's and 80's, and happens today in Pakistan, Colombia, Sri Lanka, and numerous other countries. [3] The systematic use of enforced disappearance is defined as a crime against humanity under international law. [4]

No Right Turn (http://norightturn.blogspot.com/) is one of New Zealand's top political blogs. It covers New Zealand and international politics from a left-wing perspective, with a particular focus on Parliament, elections, climate change and human rights. In addition to the usual commentary, it pokes into policy using the Official Information Act, and encourages citizen participation in government. This petition project is part of the latter.

The petition will be presented to Parliament at the end of the month, to coincide with the International Day of the Disappeared on August 30. "This is a chance for the people of New Zealand to show they care about human rights," said Idiot/Savant. "Please download the petition, sign it, and post it back as quickly as possible."

Copies of the petition can be downloaded from http://homepages.inspire.net.nz/~idiot/disappearancepetition/actionpack.zip

Or from the blog No Right Turn.

[1] Statement by New Zealand Representative, 13 November 2006 (http://www.mfat.govt.nz/Media-and-publications/Media/MFAT-speeches/2006/0-13-November-2006.php)

[2] Article 2, International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/disappearance-convention.htm)

[3] Amnesty International (http://www.amnesty.org/en/enforced-disappearances) and (http://www.amnesty.org/en/related_information/2041)

[4] Article 7, Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (http://wwwun.org/icc/part2.htm)

ENDS

Contact: nrtpetition[at]gmail.com
FAQ: http://homepages.inspire.net.nz/~idiot/disappearancepetition/faq.html

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