National refuses inquiry into torture

Published: Fri 13 May 2011 12:28 PM
Foreign Affairs Spokesperson
National refuses inquiry into torture
National Party members of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee voted yesterday against a resolution to conduct an inquiry into the role of the New Zealand Defence Force in handing over detainees in Afghanistan to armed forces which are known to torture prisoners, says Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson Maryan Street.
“A resolution to conduct an inquiry into recent allegations raised in a Metro article was defeated by the National majority on the select committee,” Maryan Street said.
“Labour and the Green Party supported the resolution. Labour believes that we need to get to the bottom of accusations which could seriously damage the good reputation of our forces overseas.
“Earlier this year, long before the Metro article appeared, I asked for evidence from our Defence Forces about how detainees or prisoners of war were dealt with,” Maryan Street said.
“I was interested to know what the rules were in the theatre of war, given New Zealand’s very strong commitment to UN Conventions around torture and the treatment of prisoners. We were given a very full briefing by NZDF and the processes were clearly laid out.
“Questions need to be asked about why the National Party members of the committee used their voting power to vote down the resolution to conduct an inquiry and also why Defence Minister Wayne Mapp has not yet released the report he asked for on the 2010 incident in Afghanistan,” Maryan Street said.
“If there were inconsistencies or irregularities in treatment under our watch in 2002, we need to know that as well so that they are not repeated,” she said.

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