7 Jan 2009

Amnesty critical of NZ stance on Gaza

9:08 am on 7 January 2009

Amnesty International New Zealand is critical of what it says is the New Zealand Government's reserved approach to the violence in Gaza.

Amnesty says it is disappointed at recent comments by Foreign Minister Murray McCully and would welcome a stronger call to end the bloodshed there.

It also wants Mr McCully to lobby the UN Security Council to take firm and decisive action to address the increasingly grave situation in Gaza.

Amnesty says civilian casualities in Gaza are at an unprecedented level and it is unacceptable for New Zealand to stay quiet while the fighting continues. The group says New Zealand's response is lagging behind Europe's.

Mr McCully says favouring one point of view will do nothing to end the bloodshed. He said taking sides does not help obtain a lasting settlement.

Amnesty's New Zealand spokesperson Rebecca Emery says the Government's approach to the current crisis is in contrast to statements made by the Labour-led government in 2006, condemning actions during the Israel-Lebanon crisis.