Foreign Relations, Peace and Conflict, Politics and Governance

Thank you, Maori Party in New Zealand

Hon.Te Ururoa Flavell

Hon. Hone Harawira
Hon. Hone Harawira

Hon.Te Ururoa Flavell
Māori Party Whip
Hon. Hone Harawira
Foreign affairs spokesman,
Maori Party

This is written in appreciation of The Maori Party’s decision to block the motion expressing concern about the Sri Lankan “humanitarian situation”; that is, the fighting against LTTE terrorists by the Government forces of Sri Lanka. The reason given by the Maori leaders is very valid: “Because it gives equal weight to the Sri Lankan Government and the Tigers”.

The New Zealand Herald on Wednesday 29 April 2009 reported that: “The Maori Party has been attacked as ‘disgusting’ for blocking a parliamentary motion yesterday… in the name of Progressive [Party] leader Jim Anderton.” It is also reported that “Labour associate foreign affairs spokesman Grant Robertson said he was disappointed that the Maori Party blocked the motion.”

The motion read:

That this House, notes its deep concern at the dire humanitarian situation in Northern Sri Lanka and calls upon both the Sri Lankan Government and the Liberation Tamil Tigers of Eelam (LTTE) to immediately stop hostilities to allow those civilians in the combat zone to move to safety, condemns all acts of violence and intimidation which are preventing civilians from leaving the conflict area, and calls on both sides to respect international humanitarian law and to protect and assist the civilian population in combat zone, as in the internally displaced persons (IDP) camps.

And Mr Anderton says “No one is being asked to take sides…” and asks “What on that list could any reasonable person be opposed to?”

The answer is this motion implies that the democratically elected Sri Lankan government does not care about its citizenry. It is biased — this means Mr Anderton and his friends side with LTTE terrorist supporters. Mr Anderton and his allies seem ignorant of recent developments in the West regarding this situation. For example: the editorial of the Washington Times on 26 April 2009 says, “The Tamil Tigers have purposefully created the conditions for a humanitarian crisis and deserve neither amnesty nor mercy. There are ways to help resolve this standoff that will not allow the Tigers to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, such as providing military and intelligence support for pinpoint strikes against the terrorist leadership. Failing that, the Obama administration [so as other administrations] should mind its own business. The Sri Lankans are winning; we should let them finish the job.”

Also United Nations Ambassador Claude Heller of Mexico speaks to the media following a Security Council meeting said “We demand that the LTTE immediately lay down arms, renounce terrorism, allow a UN-assisted evacuation of the remaining civilians in the conflict area, and join the political process,” The council president, speaking on behalf of the 15 members, said they “strongly condemned the LTTE, a terrorist organization, for the use of civilians as human shields and for not allowing them to leave the area.”

What Mr Anderton and his friends have not realized is that the LTTE is banned in more than 30 countries as the most ruthless terrorist group in the world. Pressure is now at its peak to release the civilians who have been used as human shields by the LTTE to delay their final defeat in this battle: the Ealam war IV. It is a grave mistake to be carried away by the powerful worldwide LTTE propaganda and believe that this terrorist outfit really cares about even their own Tamil people.

Hone Harawira, the foreign affairs spokesman for the Maori Party, asked the New Zealand Government to reinforce the message that the Sri Lankan Government needed to exercise restraint against the Tamil Tigers which is now in its last enclave. The report that “Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell loudly objected to Mr Anderton …” implies that the Maori leaders have done their homework comprehensively and carefully and have taken an unbiased stance bravely.

When our award-winning film-star/producer/director Jackson Anthony visited New Zealand last year, he said that the two treaties the British Government signed with the leaders of Sri Lanka in 1815 and with Maori leaders in Aotearoa /New Zealand in 1840, have a lot of similarities. It is well known here in New Zealand that the Treaty of Waitangi (the place in New Zealand where the Treaty was signed (similar to Kandy in Sri Lanka) had different versions in the English and Maori languages. Prof. Nalin de Silva mentioned in a recent TV programme that certain clauses in the Kandian Treaty were never observed by the British Governors. He said that the Sinhalese were not “conquered” but in fact were deceived by Western colonialists, as were the Maori people. Therefore, it is very interesting to learn that the Maori Party is highly aware of the situation in Sri Lanka, acting independently and impartially, which demonstrates their maturity in politics and formulating foreign policies.

Thank you, Maori Party! The GoSL should convey its gratitude to Maori Party soon.