Friday, November 23, 2007

Disappearance convention update

The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance now has an international coalition to support it and lobby for signatures and ratifications. So far 71 countries have signed, and 3 have ratified (though Argentina and Mexico still have to transmit their ratifications to the UN). Unfortunately, while the list of signatories now includes most of western Europe, New Zealand has not signed and still has no intention to. While MFAT claims to have problems with "some technical aspects of the convention" (notably its consistency with the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court), it's telling that countries like France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Denmark - all of whom are strong supporters of the ICC and of international human rights instruments - do not believe there are problems. Instead, our refusal seems to be based on a fear of offending the United States, which has used enforced disappearances as a tool in its "war on terror".

New Zealand claims to be a strong supporter of human rights on the international stage. It would be nice if we actually lived by that statement, rather than shoving our principles under the carpet to avoid offending the powerful.