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Open letter on military deployment to Iraq


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Please scroll down this page for the text of the Open Letter and the list of signatories. If you would like to add your name to the list of signatories at the end of the letter, please email Peace Movement Aotearoa with the subject heading 'Sign open letter on Iraq', and provide your name (title if relevant), occupation or position and organisation, or name (title if relevant) and town or city, thank you.

Open letter on military deployment to Iraq

11 February 2015

To all Government Ministers and Members of Parliament,

We strongly oppose the commitment of any military support by the New Zealand government to the war in Iraq and Syria, and are appalled by the Prime Minister's use of the Gallipoli anniversary as a mantle to cloak a new deployment of combat troops to the Middle East.

The situation in Iraq and Syria is the direct result of the tragic history of western military intervention in the region, in particular the 2003 US-led military invasion of Iraq and subsequent brutal eight-year long occupation. The further involvement of western armed forces in the Middle East, whether in a training or combat capacity, will do nothing but bring more violence, killing and hardship to the peoples there. Military trainers will add nothing of value to peace processes in the region.

We advocate for the self-determination of all people, in this case the people of Iraq and Syria. Any solution to this crisis must come from them, with diplomatic support from the international community. As the Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq and others have stated, comprehensive solutions will only come about through an inclusive political process.

The Prime Minister's assertion that the deployment of combat troops to Iraq is the price of membership in the exclusive Five Eyes "club" implicates New Zealand in atrocities and human rights violations committed by any of the states involved. This diminishes rather than enhances our security, and will make it more difficult to be an independent honest broker on the Security Council. Such a "club" is completely at odds with the government's stated commitment to an international order based on respect for human rights.

If endless overseas military deployments are the price of membership of the Five Eyes "club", which in any event is New Zealand's most significant contribution to US and UK-led military interventions in other countries via the Waihopai Spy Base, then it is clearly not in our best interests and New Zealand must withdraw from it.

We call on the government to make a positive contribution to peace in Iraq and Syria:

  • by providing non-military humanitarian aid to intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations working in the region, and in particular we call for the resources currently earmarked for military deployment to be transferred instead to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and other humanitarian assistance agencies; and

  • by increasing support for diplomatic processes to bring about comprehensive and long term solutions to the crises in Iraq and Syria.
  • Signed,

    • Edwina Hughes, Coordinator, Peace Movement Aotearoa
    • Professor Kevin Clements, Director, National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago
    • Helen Kingston and Virginia Stocker, Golden Bay Peace Group
    • Mike Treen, Global Peace and Justice Auckland
    • Murray Horton, Spokesperson, Anti-Bases Campaign
    • Kevin McBride, National Coordinator, Pax Christi Aotearoa-New Zealand
    • Elizabeth Duke and Elizabeth Thompson, Yearly Meeting CoClerks, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Aotearoa New Zealand, Te Haahi Tuuhauwiri
    • Pauline McKay, National Director, Christian World Service
    • Celine Kearney, President, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Aotearoa section
    • Chris Barfoot, Chair, Aotearoa New Zealand Peace and Conflict Studies Centre Trust
    • Pania Lawsen, Hokianga Catholic Workers
    • Caroline Ongleo-Calub, Acting General Manager and Head of Peace Development, The Peace Foundation
    • Commander Robert Green RN (Ret'd) and Dr Kate Dewes, Co-Directors, Disarmament and Security Centre
    • Fr Peter Murnane, Waihopai Ploughshares
    • V. Jonathan Hartfield, Chairman, New Zealand Anglican Pacifist Fellowship
    • Jess Murray, Otaki Women's Peace Group
    • Richard Northey, Chair, International Affairs and Disarmament Committee, The Peace Foundation
    • Dr. Teresia Teaiwa, Pacific Studies, Victoria University of Wellington
    • Professor Jane Kelsey, Faculty of Law, University of Auckland
    • Professor Dr. Klaus Bosselmann, Director, New Zealand Centre for Environmental Law, Faculty of Law, University of Auckland
    • Professor Richard Jackson, Deputy Director, National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago
    • Associate Professor Annabel Cooper, Department of Sociology, Gender and Social Work, University of Otago
    • Associate Professor Jenny Bryant-Tokalau, Pacific Islands Studies, Te Tumu (School of Maori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies), University of Otago
    • Associate Professor Yvonne Underhill-Sem, Development Studies, School of Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, University of Auckland
    • Dr Heather Devere, National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago
    • Professor Murray Rae, Department of Theology and Religion, University of Otago
    • Dr David V Williams, Professor of Law, University of Auckland
    • Dr Pala Molisa, School of Accounting and Commercial Law, Victoria University of Wellington
    • Rosemary McBryde, Centre Administrator, National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago
    Additional signatories

    • Nigel Smith, Head of School - Social Practice, Laidlaw College
    • Rev. Dr George Armstrong, Auckland
    • Rev'd Jenny Blood, Auckland
    • Dr Lynley Hood, writer, Dunedin
    • Veronica Maxey, Hamilton
    • Joan Garman, retired midwife, Wellington
    • Jeanette Fitzsimons, CNZM, Thames
    • Rev Jean Brookes, Anglican Priest and Community Worker, Auckland
    • Dr April K. Henderson, Pacific Studies, Victoria University of Wellington
    • Rev. Dr. Janet Crawford, Auckland
    • Judith Robinson, Whanganui
    • Marjorie A. Smart, Christchurch
    • Judith Crimmins, Pax Christi Auckland
    • Barbara Mountier, retired, Kapiti Coast
    • Russell and Gillian Feist, Waikanae
    • Richard Keller, Wellington
    • Heather Denny, Auckland
    • Robert Tait, retired teacher, Invercargill
    • Alistair T J McKee, Otaki
    • Paul Elwell-Sutton, Haast
    • Rev. Michael Dymond, Snells Beach
    • Janice Anderson, Auckland
    • Professor Chris Marshall, Diana Unwin Chair in Restorative Justice, School of Government, Victoria University of Wellington
    • Paul Barber, Wellington
    • Michael McRee, Auckland
    • Leona Fay, Christchurch
    • Professor Margaret Bedggood, Auckland
    • Sr (Dr) Kathleen Rushton, Sisters of Mercy, Otautahi Christchurch
    • Professor Barbara Einhorn, Wellington
    • Canon Dr Paul Oestreicher, Wellington
    • Rachel Miranda Evans, Wellington
    • Roger Fowler QSM, Chair, Kia Ora Gaza Trust, Auckland
    • Maureen Vance, Independent Literacy Tutor/Trainer, Christchurch
    • Apurva Mahire Bast, Student, University of Auckland
    • Philippa Colgan, Auckland
    • Tui Summers, Tai Tapu, Christchurch
    • Mary Cavanagh, retired teacher, Christchurch
    • Angharad Summers, Student, Auckland
    • Mary Hamilton, retired teacher, Christchurch
    • Mary Leabeater, Career Practitioner, Wellington
    • Liz McGimpsey, Urban Vision
    • Bronwen Summers, Christchurch
    • Suzanne Loughlin, Auckland
    • Brian Bargh, Publishing Assistant, Wellington
    • Jan McWhirter, Christchurch
    • Allan Harvey, Otaki
    • Rachel McLachlan, Christchurch
    • Leon Hickey, Christchurch
    • Alastair Duncan, Trade Unionist, Wellington
    • Adrienne Lattimore, Christchurch
    • Yvonne Summers, Lawyer, Levin
    • Leslie Bravery, Editor, Palestine Human Rights Campaign Aotearoa New Zealand
    • Thelma Bracewell, Christchurch
    • Zachary Prestidge, Director of Maple Building Solutions Ltd, Wellington
    • Sadie Prestidge, Wife and Mother, Wellington
    • Phil McNeale, Auckland
    • Greg Rzesniowiecki, Public Advocate, Upper Hutt
    • Gary Russell, Justice of the Peace, Co-Chair UNANZ Northern Branch
    • Francis Simmonds, Catholic Worker community, Christchurch
    • Jim Consedine, Catholic Worker community, Christchurch
    • Catherine Amey, Librarian, Wellington
    • Karsten Schwardt, Birkdale, Auckland
    • Lou Murray, Waiotemarama
    • Catherine Land, Catholic Worker community, Hokianga
    • Joseph Land, Catholic Worker community, Hokianga
    • Joan Macdonald, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) Tamaki Makaurau
    • Marissa Dowling, Shannon
    • Patrick Land, Shannon
    • Kiera Ellery, Catholic Worker community, Hokianga
    • Joan Havemann, Raglan
    • Professor Paul Havemann, Raglan
    • Barney Richards, Peace Council Aotearoa New Zealand
    • Rev Chris Sullivan, Catholic Permanent Deacon, Pakuranga, Auckland
    • Geoffrey Robinson, Port Charles
    • Jim Gladwin, Auckland
    • Ange Davidson, Community Development, Cheviot
    • Sr Mary Hepburn, Sisters of Mercy, Dunedin
    • Marion Hancock MNZM, Whitianga
    • Robyn White, Auckland
    • Elizabeth Joy Buckley Bargh, Wellington
    • Hugh Lusk, Auckland
    • Penny Griffith, Writer, Wellington
    • Dr Paul Sorrell, Trustee, Archibald Baxter Memorial Trust
    • Martyn Milligan, Jeweller, Golden Bay
    • Jeannie Murtagh, Media Researcher, Christchurch
    • Ralph Lawrence, Archibald Baxter Trust supporter, Dunedin
    • Jane Catherine Severn, Christchurch
    • Sandra Ware, Retired, Nelson
    • Janet Salas, Waiheke Island
    • Anthony Opie, Director, Semper Properties Ltd, Marahau
    • Reihana Robinson, Writer, Coromandel
    • Arthur Palmer, Auckland
    • Jack Woodward, Professor Emeritus, University of Auckland
    • Bishop Richard Randerson, Wellington
    • Mrs Jackie Randerson, Wellington
    • Hanne Sorensen, Mother, Waiheke Island
    • Raewyn Holloway, Retired, Auckland
    • Jane Briscoe, Waiheke Island
    • Sarah Gunn, Wellington
    • Maurice Vaughan, Counsellor, Matakanui
    • Jeph Mathias, Development Consultant
    • Rev Dorothy Brooker, TSSF, Napier
    • Hugh Steadman, Director, The Prenzel Distilling Company Ltd
    • Ms Carolyn McKenzie, Chair, Patientsí Rights Advocacy Waikato Inc
    • Ray Bruning, Retired, Christchurch
    • Kim Saffron, Self-employed Form Designer, Wellington
    • Donna Miles, Company Director, Ex Senior Mathematics Lecturer, Merivale, Christchurch
    • Alastair Miles, Company Director, Christchurch
    • Michelle Benson Registered Nurse, Auckland
    • Mr Cameron Sang, Lower Hutt
    • Jan Carter, Safety Medic, Wellington
    • Jo Sanderson, Auckland
    • Jason Tamihana-Bryce, Parent, Relief teacher (secondary), Gardener, Musician, Porirua
    • Jo Cameron, Tauranga
    • Elisabeth Nicholls, retired, Christchurch
    • M Gary Nicholls, Emeritus Professor, University of Otago - Christchurch
    • Judy Blakey PhD, Auckland
    • Celeste Donovan, Christchurch
    • Jack Byrne, Human Rights Consultant, Tamaki Makaurau / Auckland
    • Wendy Drummond, Teacher, Collingwood, Golden Bay
    • Rachel Rose, Whanganui
    • Cat Noakes-Duncan, Mum and member of Urban Vision, Naenae, Lower Hutt
    • Tom Noakes-Duncan, Father and member of Urban Vision, Research Assistant Chair in Restorative Justice, Victoria University
    • Alan Jackson, Retired Schoolmaster, Dunedin
    • Margaret Irvine, Whangarei
    • Peter Matthewson, MPhil, Lecturer, Department of Social Practice, Unitec
    • Gill Minogue, Kaitaia
    • Sarah Kelly, Mother, New Plymouth
    • Joy Glasgow, Ban Somsanouk Volunteer Project
    • Deborah Williams, Teacher, Christchurch
    • David Minifie, Retired, Christchurch
    • Miriam Frances, Dunedin
    • Lynne Plant, Tutukaka Coast
    • Donald Shand, Dunedin
    • Jennifer Bargh, Retired florist, Palmerston North
    • Marion Sanson, Clerk, Wellington Quaker Meeting
    • Gemma Macann, Urban Vision, Ngatiawa River Monastery team, Waikanae

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