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  • Will Irvine

Government Invites Military Dictators to Experience Welly on a Good Day


Representatives of the various Myanmar ethnicities in Aotearoa are outraged at the Government’s decision to invite members of the nation’s illegal military dictatorship to a conference held in Wellington. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade told reporters that visas would be granted to senior officials of the Myanmar government, which has systematically slaughtered ethnic minorities in an escalating pattern of war crimes since it came to power in 2021. The ensuing civil war, which has killed nearly 50,000 people and left more than 2 million displaced, has primarily revolved around a series of wars between rebel groups in the nation’s various minority ethnic states. 

On Sunday the 7th of April, hundreds of members of the Myanmar community in Nelson rallied against the Government’s decision. Organiser Mwe Mwe Ein Htein told Stuff that the decision was “playing with our lives”. At the rally, Nelson MP Rachel Boyack described the granting of Visas as “appalling”, telling reporters that the community had “seen countless people killed, harmed and imprisoned for standing up to them and being brave.”

The following Tuesday, a similar protest took place on Parliament lawn in Wellington. There, representatives of the Labour and Green parties spoke to crowds, assuring them they would be taking the government to task over the decision to invite mass murderers to tour our city. In the words of Labour’s associate Foreign Affairs spokesperson Phil Twyford: “They stole democracy at the barrel of a gun. Do we want them in our country? No.”

The conference will be held on April 18 and 19. Readers are encouraged to write to their local MPs and ask them to support the revocation of visas.


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