Thursday, October 18, 2007

International Indian Treaty Council seeks UN intervention for Maoris

In an urgent appeal, the International Indian Treaty Council has asked agencies of the United Nations to intervene on behalf of Maoris in New Zealand who are being subjected to arrests, detentions and police raids. IITC's letter follows:

2390 Mission St., Suite 301
San Francisco, CA. 94110
Telephone (415) 641-4482
Fax (415) 641-1298

October 17, 2007
Special Representative for the Secretary General on Human Rights Defenders, Ms. Hina Jilani:
Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Expression, Mr. Ambeyi Ligabo:
Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions: and,
Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous Peoples, Mr. Rodolfo Stavenhagen
Via fax: +[41-22] 917-9006
Via email:
URGENT APPEAL: Raids and arrests against Maori by the New Zealand government
Please receive our respectful greetings.
The International Indian Treaty Council, an Indigenous NGO with Consultative Status before ECOSOC, has received many emails from Maori friends and associates in New Zealand concerning massive raids in Maori Communities against Maori activists, by the Government of New Zealand acting under recently adopted so-called “Terrorism Suppression” legislation:
On Monday, October 15, the government of New Zealand began a series of home invasions, raids and interrogation under threats of terrorist activities against the state. The Crown has decided to employ its recent Terrorism Suppression Act to lockdown on social justice activist, Houses continue to be being invaded, possessions confiscated and charges being threatened which will allow for Maori activists to be charged under the Terrorist Suppression Act that carries sentencing for life.
The ages of people currently under custody range from 18 – 64. Many being arrested and held are young people trying to do good things for Maori communities. These events are allegedly the largest scale operation headed by special operations from the Head of States Office. There appears yet no explanation for the timing of these invasions. The indigenous movement for self - determination is what is being blamed by the media for instigating acts of terrorism.
One Maori activist, Mauriora, Kiritapu Allan Co–Director of the Non-Governmental Organization, Conscious Collaborations, has publicly stated:
“The Police showed up at my house with files of my activities over years, my phones have been tapped for years, my house under surveillance and everything subject to their review. We have not been involved in any activities that could allow the police to make these claims and the distress they are causing for our families and children is devastating.
“Right now we are fighting for friends in Police Custody to make bail. A number of these requests have been denied. A number of people are now been moved between prisons and I will be liasing with them and their families. Court costs, travel costs, food costs and lawyer costs are above the heads of many of our people and we are asking for support from our communities both national and international to come to our aid in this time of need. 'Terrorism' world wide has become a cause for unjust state intervention into the lives of many peoples committed to change and now we are seeing that reality play out here in our own backyards within our own community.”
to: Most of our Internet sites have been taken down also in relation to these chain of events however all responses and correspondence can be made through me.
Kiritapu Allan Co – Director, Conscious Collaborations
Radio New Zealand: Maori: Race relations set back 100 yearsRadio New Zealand reported that Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says this week's police raids have set race relations back 100 years. Dr Sharples says the justice system has lashed out against Maori, and the raids used "storm trooper" tactics. He says the police actions remind him of the atrocities committed at Parihaka in the 19th century, when 1500 armed police occupied the settlement and arrested its leaders.
Dr Sharples says no charges have been laid under the Terrorism Suppression Act since it was introduced in 2002, and questions whether there will be what he describes as trumped-up evidence to justify the police actions.Radio New Zealand also reported that Alliance Party president Victor Billot says confusion and secrecy surrounding the alleged terrorism activities needs to be cleared up. Mr Billot says the use of the terrorism suppression legislation to raid houses was unnecessary, and the nature of the alleged threats to public safety should be made public immediately.Copyright © 2007 Radio New Zealand
The IITC has also received the following information:
Maori seeking return of ancestral lands raided and arrested New Zealand police raided Maori groups seeking the rights to their ancestral land on Oct. 15. Seventeen Maori of Ngai Tuhoe were arrested and jailed after a raid by 300 riot police. This comes after New Zealand voted against the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Maori land claims are at the heart of the attacks by the government of New Zealand, now trying to brand the Maori as "terrorists."
On 14 September 2007, New Zealand was one of only four nations to vote against the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, speaking against the declaration just prior to the vote.
The landmark declaration, approved after 143 Member States voted in favour, outlines the rights of the world's estimated 370 million indigenous people and outlaws discrimination against them - a move that followed more than two decades of debate. The Declaration emphasizes the rights of indigenous peoples to maintain and strengthen their own institutions, cultures and traditions and to pursue their development in keeping with their own needs and aspirations. It also prohibits discrimination against indigenous peoples and promotes their full and effective participation in all matters that concern them, and their right to remain distinct and to pursue their own visions of economic and social development.
In other words, the declaration gives the weight of the United Nations to the notions of Tino Rangatiratanga and Mana Motuhake.
Well, Ngai Tuhoe have a claim before the Waitangi Tribunal for their ancestral land. Land that was never ceeded to the crown. Ngai Tuhoe did not sign Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and the land that is now in crown hands was stolen. Submissions on the claim closed in 2005 and the report on their claim is expected back at the end of 2007.
There is no moral or law (domestic or international) which can justify the crowns continued possession of the Tuhoe nation. By the occupation of Tuhoe land, the NZ Government imposes a pakeha colonial system of taxation, schooling, education and health upon Ngai Tuhoe. And these systems have been shown again and again to be failing Maori.
What the new UN Declaration sets out, what the Waitangi Tribunal must find, what justice should prove, is that these lands, the control of their communities, the Mana Motuhake, of Tuhoe must be returned. Of course, the government is not prepared to allow an alternate system to exist within our national boundaries. They are not willing to admit to the heinous wrongs of our predecessors, and they are not willing to return these lands, and Tino Rangatiratanga, to it's rightful heirs.
THIS is why there must be a fight for the rights of the Tuhoe nation, THIS is why, in my opinion, the police and government decided to act now - to cast a light of their making ("terrorists") upon those people who are brave enough to stand up for the justice for which the Tuhoe nation has been waiting so long.
The IITC is further informed that as of now, the government continues its raids on Maori environmental and youth groups. X, a prominent, internationally respected Maori academic and activist, reported the following to the IITC in preparation of this urgent appeal:
“I talked yesterday (October 17th 2007) with one of the Maori youth whose house was raided in Wellington. His mother was staying with him at the time of the raid and she is completely traumatised by the experience. He wasn't home and so she experienced the full brunt of the police raid. Over a dozen armed gunmen broke into the house. He showed me the list of items that were confiscated from his house and they included two books, one called 'Soildering On' and the other "Resistance'. The Police only wrote the names of the book and not the authors. The Resistance book is a best-seller edited collection of Maori writers talking about neo-liberalism But in the list of confiscated items it looks like it's a guidebook to warfare! No guns were found at his house or at many of the other homes that have been raided.”
X also forwards the following news items:
Here is a website with public reactions to the Raids. and more news items from last night.
Te Karere reports that an Auckland District Court Judge threw out the case by Police against a man who was arrested yesterday amid allegations of terrorism. Te Karere reports that the judge told Police not to waste the courts valuable time. Te Karere says armed Police entered several homes yesterday under terrorism laws and 17 people were arrested including Tame Iti, Ngai Tuhoe. Te Karere reports that at the time of their broadcast it was not known if Tame Iti’s bail hearing was successful. Te Karere reports that the charges against Iti have not yet been fully explained. (SOURCE: TE KARERE, TVNZ)
Annette Sykes, lawyer for Tame Iti, says she is aware that several Tuhoe leaders are not commenting on yesterday’s developments. She says some are staying silent because they are intimidated by what has happened and others are silent because they are angry. Te Karere says there was a large crowd of supporters for Iti outside the Rotorua District Court today. Sykes says it’s really over to the Prime Minister now. She says the PM should front up with her advisers and tell the people of Ruatoki why this happened to their homes yesterday. Te Karere shows images of armed Police road blocks and reports that roads around Taneatua and Ruatoki were cordoned off yesterday. Sykes says one of the kuia she spoke to yesterday said that she was gravely concerned and what had happened brings back memories of the land confiscations of the 20th century. (SOURCE: TE KARERE, TVNZ)
Te Karere reports on a hui at Otenuku Marae for the Ruatoki community. Te Karere says the hui has been held to allow the local families an opportunity to discuss their concerns about Police actions yesterday. (SOURCE: TE KARERE, TVNZ)
Te Karere reports that critics of the action taken by Police this week are being criticised by Police Minister Annette King. Te Karere says 17 people have been arrested including Maori, environmental and other political activists. Te Karere reports that the Maori Party has condemned what has happened at Ruatoki. Te Ururoa Flavell, Waiariki MP, says terrorism is serious but only four people were arrested in Ruatoki but the whole community suffered. He says this was over the top. (SOURCE: TE KARERE, TVNZ)
Te Karere reports that new anti-terrorism laws are about to be considered by the Parliament. Flavell says we need to be very careful in designing terrorism laws for the country or they may well backfire on us all. Te Karere reports that Deputy Police Commissioner John White says the Police have acted under the terrorism laws because they have good reason to. Te Karere reports that Police Minister Annette King says there has been no political influence behind what has happened and the Police have acted independently. (SOURCE: TE KARERE, TVNZ)
Te Karere says that the government’s Maori MPs are not commenting on these weeks’ arrests. Te Karere reports that Labour MP, Dover Samuels says the need time to consider the facts before they comment. However Te Karere reports that Parekura Horomia, Maori Affairs Minister felt able to comment even though the full story is not yet known. Horomia says the issue is being dealt with by the Police but ministers will be kept informed. (SOURCE: TE KARERE, TVNZ)
In her most recent email to the IITC, X reports the following:
Some of the many complaints that are being made here in Aotearoa include (1) that the police stopped school buses of children on their way to pre-school and boarded the buses armed to search the bus. (2) Blockades were set up by Police in the township of Ruatoki where every single car was stopped and drivers and passengers were questioned by the Police. The whole community was being targeted. (3) the Police have attempted to enter homes with a Search warrant.
More arrests made as Iti's bail is denied
Thu, 18 Oct 2007 07:34a.m.
Tame Iti
Police have made more arrests as they continue raids to back up investigations into the alleged military training camps in the Urewera Ranges.
Armed police swooped on properties in Lower Hutt, Taupo, Waikeremoana and some other areas yesterday.
It is understood one person was arrested at Taupo and another at Ruatoki, although police are not confirming details at this stage.
A Taupo house belonging to Bryan Inness, who organised a sustainability conference this week and runs an organic vegetable business from home, was among the properties raided yesterday.
At least one recently arrested person will be appearing in the Rotorua District Court today.
Maori activist Tame Iti yesterday had three more firearms offences added to the eight charges he has been facing.
A Rotorua judge yesterday refused Iti bail and remanded him in custody.
Three more charges were laid against Iti yesterday, adding to the eight firearms and Molotov cocktail counts Iti already faces.
Although X is very willing to communicate directly with thse special procedures, we request that her name not be revealed to the Government of New Zealand. As she reports, arrests are being made every day.
The International Indian Treaty Council, on behalf of numerous Maori friends, associates and colleagues, respectfully request that your mandates be exercised, individually or collectively, that this matter be resolved and that no further actions are undertaken by the New Zealand government against peaceful Maori activists.
If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to call or write.
For all our relations,
Alberto Saldamando, General Counsel
International Indian Treaty Council
2390 Mission Street, Suite 302
San Francisco, CA 94110
cc: Aroha Mead
Anaru Fraiser
Hinewirangi Kohu
Andrea Carmen, IITC Executive Director

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Censored News is published by censored journalist Brenda Norrell. A journalist for 27 years, Brenda lived on the Navajo Nation for 18 years, writing for Navajo Times, AP, USA Today, Lakota Times and other American Indian publications. After being censored and then terminated by Indian Country Today in 2006, she began the Censored Blog to document the most censored issues. She currently serves as human rights editor for the U.N. OBSERVER & International Report at the Hague and contributor to Sri Lanka Guardian, Narco News and CounterPunch. She was cohost of the 5-month Longest Walk Talk Radio across America, with Earthcycles Producer Govinda Dalton in 2008:
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