New Zealand Designates ETA and the FARC as Terrorist Groups
By Dialogo February 12, 2010New Zealand today added ETA, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC), and two other organizations to its list of terrorist groups, the funds of which in the country can be frozen and which are prohibited from receiving legal help from citizens. For the first time, the New Zealand government is classifying as terrorists groups not designated as such by the United Nations, in order to “reflect New Zealand’s strong commitment to the international campaign against terrorism,” the Prime Minister, John Key, explained. “We are determined New Zealand is not a target of, or source of support for, terrorist activities,” Key emphasized. The other two extremist organizations are the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is fighting for the independence of the Kurdish minority in Turkey, and the Somali militia Al Shabaab, linked to Al Qaeda and to the fundamentalist regime of the Islamic courts in Mogadishu. “These four groups have engaged in a range of terrorist acts including the indiscriminate killing of civilians and assassination of political leaders,” the New Zealand head of government indicated. The designation as terrorist organizations allows the government to freeze all their present or future assets in New Zealand and makes it a crime punishable by up to fourteen years in prison for any individual or business to do business with them. Aiding, sheltering, or raising funds for terrorists are also criminal offenses, whether or not the individual or group has been included in the list of terrorist groups. Key justified the measure in order that the country not “be seen by terrorist groups as an easy place in which to do business.” “While the risk of a terrorist attack in New Zealand is low, the designations are important to constrain the operations of terrorist groups around the world,” the prime minister added. New Zealand strengthened its anti-terrorism laws after the attacks of 11 September 2001 in the United States, and since then it has included approximately 180 individuals and 20 organizations on its list of terrorists, all of them before today also listed by the UN. Almost five years ago, ETA warned the New Zealand embassy in Madrid that New Zealand tourists who traveled to Spain could be targets of attacks by the group.