Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Monstrous and illegal

In September 2021 Ahamed Samsudeen was killed by police after stabbing eight people in an Auckland supermarket. Samsudeen was a former refugee who seems to have been turned into a terrorist by the SIS and police (at the least you can say that their treatment of him did not help the situation, and it seems to have made it considerably worse). After an attempt to prosecute him for terrorism collapsed in the face of the inconvenient fact that he hadn't actually broken the law yet, the government tried to deport him, but were barred from doing so by international human rights law. But now the government has a "solution" for this "problem": simply ignore that law:

The government is looking into whether it will change the law to make it possible to send would-be terrorists, or refugees who have been serious offenders, back to their home countries.


Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi said the government is talking to other countries about how they deal with deporting protected people - those who face the risk of persecution in their home countries.

"We're currently in a phase where we are asking some experts for some feedback to the proposals. Some of that includes talking to other countries about the regimes that they have in place to relocate people. It's not as easy as it sounds and obviously, that was one of the sticking points with the individual involved.

"So we haven't come to a final position yet. But we have, I guess - in comparison to where we were in September last year, we've advanced a lot of the policy discussions."

The most obvious problem with this is that it is blatantly illegal under international and New Zealand law. While the Refugee Convention allows people granted refugee status to be deported back to persecution when they have been convicted of a "particularly serious crime" and so constitute a "danger to the community", or where there are reasonable grounds for regarding them as a "danger to the security of the country", they are still protected by the the Convention Against Torture and the ICCPR, which forbid deportation to torture and death. Those protections are recognised in sections 130 and 131 of the Immigration Act, and beyond that by the affirmation of the right to life and the right not to be subjected to torture or cruel treatment. While the former can easily be changed, the BORA rights are considered non-derogable by the courts (reflecting international law on the issue), so if the government wanted any change to stick, it would have to either directly amend the BORA, or write a nakedly explicit "fuck the BORA" clause into the Immigration Act. Both are obviously constitutionally improper. And even then, it would just move the problem from New Zealand courts to the United Nations (either the Human Rights Committee or the Committee Against Torture, depending). So, this isn't actually a "problem" they can solve, unless they want to turn us into an outlaw regime like Australia which pisses on international human rights law.

Secondly, what is the "problem" they are trying to solve? Looking at their chosen example, its not "people who have been convicted of crimes", but people who haven't been convicted, people who haven't actually committed crimes at all. Which gets us into issues of punishment without trial, which again is simply not the sort of thing countries which respect human rights do. Aotearoa likes to think of itself as one of those countries, and Labour likes to think of itself as a party which supports that. But clearly the current government haven't got the memo, because faced with some legally inconvenient people, their "solution" is simply to get rid of them, and bugger legal process or human rights protections. Which is the sort of mindset you'd expect from someone like Putin, not a New Zealand politician.

What the government is proposing is simply monstrous and illegal. It should not proceed. But beyond that, it exposes a sickness at the heart of government, a mindset of convenience and expediency and a disregard for fundamental human rights. A government infected by such a sickness should not be allowed to continue. Instead, it should be removed from office at the next election.