One of the most shameful aspects of our foreign policy is our two-tier approach to human rights violations.
Appalling treatment is inflicted on human beings in many parts of the world, but New Zealand does not strongly speak out against abuses in countries that the United States sees as enemies while refusing to speak out against abuses in countries that the United States does. United States consider their friends.
Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta has been strong and principled in challenging China for “serious human rights violations” against the Uyghur people, for example, with strong public statements and even supported a motion parliamentarian condemning China.
That this Assembly is gravely concerned at the serious human rights violations perpetrated against Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, and calls on the government to work with the United Nations, international partners and with all the relevant instruments of international law to put an end to these abuses.
But when it comes to the struggles of the indigenous peoples of West Papua, Palestine and Western Sahara against the brutal oppression of Indonesia, Israel or Morocco respectively, Nanaia Mahuta is silent.
The government says it prefers to raise human rights issues with those countries behind closed doors where criticism can be made constructively – blah, blah, blah – with endless rambling written by foreign officials to claim that ‘they take these matters seriously. They don’t.
The reason these struggles have lasted so long (West Papua since the 1962 Indonesian invasion, Palestine since the 1948 Israeli ethnic cleansing, and Western Sahara since the 1975 Moroccan invasion) is that countries like New -Zeeland refused to speak. We have been successful. We are a serious part of the problem.
Ministers in the previous government told us that Aotearoa New Zealand needs to temper its criticism of other countries because it could rebound our trade, but it doesn’t. We have minimal trade with Indonesia, Israel, and Morocco, but massive trade with China.
The reason we have criticized China so directly but hit Indonesia, Israel and Morocco is because our foreign officials are in a deep and satisfying love affair with them. United States.