UN asks NZ Government to report on 2010 Afghan raid investigation

9 June 2017, 14:38 UTC | New Zealand

The United Nations Committee Against Torture has asked the New Zealand Government to report on what measures it has put in place in order to fully investigate the allegations relating to Operation Burnham in Afghanistan in 2010. During this Operation it is alleged that the New Zealand Defence Force raided two Afghan villages, which left 21 civilians dead or wounded.

Executive Director of Amnesty International New Zealand, Grant Bayldon said, ”In April, the Prime Minister claimed there was no basis for ordering an inquiry into these alleged war crimes. Amnesty International flatly disagreed, as did thousands of New Zealanders. Now the UN is calling on the Government to show how these allegations are being properly addressed. It’s clearly the right thing to do – the families of the Afghan victims and the New Zealand public deserve nothing less.”

Upon the release of the Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson book Hit & Run, Amnesty International called for a thorough and independent investigation into possible war crimes committed, including the death of a 3-year old girl. Over a thousand New Zealanders echoed this call to Prime Minister English and Defence Minister Brownlee, highlighting that the Defence Force could not impartially investigate itself, and that New Zealand couldn’t rely on the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) report into civilian casualties.

Unfortunately, the Prime Minister decided not to investigate any further. However, this new development means the matter isn’t over yet.

“We have very real concerns about the impartiality of military forces investigating military conduct. It’s not too late for the Prime Minister to order a thorough, independent inquiry. We owe it to New Zealand’s international reputation and the men and women who represent us in conflicts overseas to remove any shadow of a doubt about our military conduct,” said Bayldon.

The Committee Against Torture has released a list of questions for New Zealand to report on prior to its examination by the Committee in Geneva, question 27 refers to Operation Burnham.

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