Respect Indigenous Peoples\' Rights! Free the Arrested Maoris!
24 October 2007 Rt Hon Helen Clark Prime Minister PO Box 18888 Parliament Buildings Wellington NEW ZEALAND Hon Annette king Minister of Police Parliament Office Parliament Buildings PO Box 18-04 Wellington Police Commissioner Howard Broad 180 Molesworth Street PO Box 3017 WELLINGTON Police Complaints Authority POLICE COMPLAINTS AUTHORITY P O Box 5025 Wellington Level 10, Baldwins Centre 342 Lambton Quay Wellington Dear Honourables, Our warmest greetings from the Asia-Pacific Indigenous Youth Network! The APIYN would like to express our indignation on the arrests of our Maori friends and raids on their homes and the violent ways by which some police authorities have executed these arrests. The APIYN firmly believes that involvement in advocacy works and activism for social change is never a terroristic act and hence does not warrant such repressive actions using the Terrorism Suppression Act. While we are one with New Zealand\'s intention of protecting its people and territories from any act of terrorism, we are saddened with its use of its anti-terror law to unfairly arrest and persecute Maori peace and social change advocates. The Maori people have always peacefully advanced their demands using New Zealand laws and including international agreements such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other instruments recognizing Indigenous Peoples\' rights. The Maori people have worked through peaceful mobilizations and advocacies for the adoption of policies and regulations that have required New Zealand institutions to recognize the welfare and interests of the Maori people. For their works and of the recognition of New Zealand authorities, there were major improvements in the Maori indigenous people\'s conditions. Without doubt, the Maori people had been lucky enough to have a government sympathetic to its cause and interests. For a long time, the favourable conditions of Maori indigenous people in New Zealand have been looked up to, at times envied, by other Indigenous peoples in the Asia-pacific region. Member organizations and individual members of the Asia-Pacific Indigenous Youth Network are therefore saddened with the current events in New Zealand. We are also appalled with the harsh implementation of New Zealand anti-terror law on our Maori indigenous brothers and sisters, such could at par or outclass the ongoing political persecutions in most Third World countries like the Philippines or Manipur. It is also becoming clear that there is now a worldwide systematic campaign against social advocacy groups, a campaign directed primarily to eliminate those perceived \"enemies of the state\". We are distressed with these worsening situations of a rising number of human rights violations worldwide, now including in New Zealand. It is really unfortunate that state anti-terror laws, for instance that of New Zealand, the Philippines, and the US, consider activists and social advocates as terrorists and thereby targets for political persecutions. We find all these as unfair, unjust, and undemocratic. We believe that repressions, persecutions, and human rights violations do not have any place in a civilized world. Henceforth, We demand the unconditional release of all those arrested, We call on the New Zealand government to investigate these violations committed against the Maori people, and, We further urge the New Zealand policy makers and public officials to review and repeal the Terrorism Suppression Act. We also call for New Zealand authorities to respect the Declaration of Indigenous Peoples