Sanctions and humanitarian assistance, not troops, needed to combat ISIL

John Key needs to properly explain what is special about the situation in Iraq that merits deployment of New Zealand troops, and New Zealand needs to demonstrate a consistent and constructive approach to international human rights violations, the Green Party said today.

“The best way New Zealand can help lessen the misery caused by ISIL in Iraq and Syria is by providing humanitarian assistance and other constructive action there. This is the most urgent need for the people of Iraq and Syria,” said Kennedy Graham, Green Party global affairs spokesperson.

“New Zealand should use its position on the UN Security Council to call for economic and arms sanctions against states that fund and arm terrorist groups such as ISIL. These actions, in line with the 2006 UN Counter Terrorism Strategy, could help lead to a lasting result.

“New Zealand was right to stay out of the 2003 invasion of Iraq led by the USA and UK. Military support by New Zealand now will not create a lasting solution to the problems in Iraq. John Key should listen to the judgement of the UN Secretary General that ‘military strikes against ISIS might have little lasting effect or even be counterproductive’.

“If human rights abuses are the trigger for going to war, John Key needs to explain why New Zealand is considering sending troops to Iraq, but not Nigeria, Somalia, Yemen or Philippines where terrorist extremists are also committing violent acts. We should have a consistent approach to counter-terrorism based on lasting solutions,” Dr Graham said.