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Blackcaps cower in silence, says NZ peace group

[TamilNet, Sunday, 6 September 2009 07:48 No Comment]

Global Peace and Justice in Auckland (GPJA), an activist group in New Zealand, said Saturday that New Zealand cricket team has "cowered in silence, complicit in the oppression of the Tamil population," for reneging on an agreement where "Blackcaps would publicly and symbolically facilitate the transfer of milk powder products from Fonterra in Sri Lanka to World Vision for the victims of war in the military camps." NZ Television channel TVnz said that GPJA’s spokesperson John Minto told the station that the Blackcaps pulled out "after team manager Dave Currie refused to allow his team to take part in any humanitarian gesture."

Allegedly, NZ Cricket and player representatives had agreed they would do what they could without getting involved in the politics, and with this in mind no protests were organized by the expatriate Tamils against the team leaving for Sri Lanka.

After the pullout, TVNZ reported that GPJA is "supporting the Tamil community tomorrow [Sunday, 6th September] and will have a replica barbed-wire camp set up with cricketers and others playing outside the camp."

Full text of the release posted in GPJA’s newsletter follows:

PROTEST AT HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES IN SRI LANKA

Before the forum there is an important protest against the continuing human rights abuses in Sri Lanks where hundreds of thousands of Tamils are being held in concentration camps while the Black caps play cricket without concern! There is a feeling within the New Zealand Tamil community that the Tamils in Sri Lanka have been abandoned by the international community. Let us show them some support. See What’s on in Auckland for details.

Blackcap cricketers cowardly and duplicitous on humanitarian support

Global Peace and Justice Auckland is angry the Blackcaps cricket team has bailed out on humanitarian support for the 280,000 Tamil people incarcerated in military camps following the recent civil war.

Before the cricketers left they met with representatives of the New Zealand Tamil community, along with GPJA, where the team was requested to use its high public profile to help keep the international spotlight on the humanitarian crisis facing the Tamil population.

NZ Cricket and player reps agreed they would do what they could without getting involved in the politics (which they were never requested to do). With this in mind no protests were organised against the team leaving for Sri Lanka.

Subsequently agreement was reached between Fonterra, World Vision and representatives of the New Zealand Tamil community whereby the Blackcaps would publicly and symbolically facilitate the transfer of milk powder products from Fonterra in Sri Lanka to World Vision for the victims of war in the military camps where there is an on-going humanitarian catastrophe.

The Blackcaps then got cold feet with Dave Currie (NZ Cricket manager with the Blackcaps) refusing to allow the cricketers to take part. Currie says he fears for the safety of the players. If helping feed starving people with milk powder is going to compromise player safety then what are the Blackcaps doing in Sri Lanka in the first place?

The team has cowered in silence, complicit in the oppression of the Tamil population.

Amnesty International has a campaign “Unlock the Camps” which aims to put pressure of the Sri Lankan government to allow free access to the camps for humanitarian organisations and the international media. The Sri Lankan government refuses and the cruel oppression continues while the Blackcaps turn a blind eye.

The Blackcaps have lost on the field in Sri Lanka but their behaviour off the field has been far worse. It has been cowardly and duplicitous.

Unlock the camps – protest

GPJA will be supporting the Tamil community in a protest this Sunday 6th September, Aotea Square at 12noon. A replica barbed-wire camp will be set up on Queen Street with cricketers (mouths taped shut) playing outside the camp.

John Minto – (09) 8463173 (H) or 8469496(W)

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