Working together for good

31/07/2020

All parties in parliament have united to pass the first multi-member Bill:

The Crimes (Definition of Female Genital Mutilation) Amendment Bill completed its third reading last night, with support from all parties in Parliament, and is set to become New Zealand law.

The bill is in the names of Jo Hayes MP (National), Priyanca Radhakrishnan MP (Labour), Golriz Ghahraman MP (Greens), and Jenny Marcroft MP (New Zealand First). It is the first time in history a Member’s Bill has been sponsored by more than one MP.

While most forms of female genital mutilation (FGM) were banned in New Zealand in 1996, through an amendment to the Crimes Act 1961 when s204A was added, this amendment will align the legislation with the World Health Organisation (WHO) classifications of all types of FGM and international best practice recommendations.

The bill is part of the work of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) New Zealand Group, who seek to better the lives of women and girls in Aotearoa. CWP New Zealand has collaborated with FGM Education to highlight the need for this legislative reform. Co-chairs Louisa Wall MP and Jo Hayes MP are grateful to have this important legislation complete all of its stages through the House before the dissolution of the 52nd Parliament.

“We are proud to have brought about this law to protect the lives of women and girls in Aotearoa. As women parliamentarians, we have listened to their concerns and are honoured to have contributed substantive legislative change to protect our wahine,” the co-chairs said.

The bill now awaits Royal Assent, this is the last formal step before a Bill passes and becomes law.

We had seen far too much of the worst of politicians and politics in the last few weeks. It is heartening to see parliament at its best, all parties working together for good.

Dare we hope that the new parliament will see more of this?


It’s not what she did

28/11/2017

Green MP Golriz Ghahraman worked as a lawyer for the Rwanda tribunals.

That sounds admirable and worthy work doesn’t it?

Would it sound as admirable and worthy if  it was clear she was not working for the prosecution to indict those accused of genocide but for the defence to clear them?

Good defence is an integral part of fair justice and that requires defence lawyers. There’s nothing wrong with being one of those.

But it is wrong to hide the fact and give a very strong impression that she was working for the prosecution, as she did elsewhere, not the defence.

Over at Kiwiblog David Farrar writes:

Now I had no idea before reading this article that her work in Rwanda was defending the war criminals, not prosecuting them. I doubt anyone else knew either. Let’s look at what her Green Party CV says:

Her studies at Oxford, and work as a lawyer for the United Nations and in New Zealand, have focused on enforcing human rights and holding governments to account. Golriz has lived and worked in Africa, The Hague and Cambodia putting on trial world leaders for abusing their power, and restoring communities after war and human rights atrocities, particularly empowering women engaged in peace and justice initiatives.

Now 99% of people who read that would think she was working at prosecuting the abusers, not defending them.

Look at this Guardian article from a few weeks ago:

It was in this South Pacific melting pot, says Ghahraman, that she acquired the confidence to study human rights law at Oxford University, and, later, to stand up in court representing the UN in tribunals prosecuting some of the world’s worst war criminals, including perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide.

Now again 99% of people reading this would assume she was prosecuting in Rwanda. But she was actually defending the perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide.

Former Labour staffer Phil Quin has actually worked in Rwanda with the survivors of the genocide there. He is highly unimpressed:

Quin has lots of texts including this one:

.@golrizghahraman to be clear, the human rights that preoccupied you were those of some of the worst mass murderers in history. What about the rights of thousands of women with children born of rape; countless orphans; friends that lost entire families; 800,000 dead.

Everyone deserves a defense, but please don’t preen as a human rights advocates when you dedicated a year to keeping these killers from justice. And defense underfunded?? Don’t make me laugh. ICTR spent 500m defending these guys.

 

The wrong-doing isn’t that Ghahraman defended people accused of genocide.

It’s the selective use of information to give the impression that she worked for the prosecution.

It’s not what she did but the impression she and her party gave of what she did that’s created the controversy.

At the very best this was a lie by omission from the Green Party and MP.

Imagine the uproar from the left if a National or Act MP did work like this, let alone gave an altogether different impression of the work.


%d bloggers like this: