Thursday, February 16, 2006

A shameful silence

How many New Zealand politicians have condemned the ongoing abuse of human rights at the US's Caribbean gulag at Guantanamo Bay?

Two: Keith Locke and Matt Robson. And as the former points out in a press release this morning, our own government has been completely silent on the issue. Despite our traditional advocacy of human rights, there has been no statement from the Prime Minister or Foreign Minister calling for the US to abide by international law and give its detainees a fair trial. There has been no statement condemning the torture and abuse that goes on there. To the contrary, then-Foreign Minister Phil Goff applauded the Cuban government for supporting the foundation of the US camp. And when the government has been questioned about their stance - in written questions and in the House - they've carefully sidestepped the issue.

This isn't good enough. As Keith Locke says, Guantanamo is

an acid test of whether you really stand for justice and human dignity.

Judging from their shameful silence on the issue, our government doesn't stand for those things at all.