Friday, May 09, 2003

A rotting smell in the closet

I saw this on the news last night and in the Herald this morning: Western Samoans campaigning to have the law which retroactively deprived them of citizenship repealed have finally been able to present their case to a select committee. Unfortunately, Helen Clarke (who opposed the bill in 1982) says that she sees no reason for any change.

I think the government is wrong on this. As the former colonial power, we had certain obligations to Samoans in 1982. Stripping them of citizenship was a denial of those obligations, and something that we should all be ashamed of. We should correct this injustice as soon as possible. I think Arthur Anae summed it up best when he asked how we could hold our head high while advocating for universal human rights abroad, "when there is a rotting smell in the closet at home that needs to be addressed"?