NZ prepares for more ISIS families to return

Ardern takes authority over Iran, NZ prepares for more ISIS families

As the government of NZ prepares for more ISIS families to return, it continues to sponsor organisations that encourage it’s members to “fight until there is no more unbelief and religion is of Allah” and “kill them wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and unbelief is worse than killing.”

You can download and read the Quran yourself here.

The Government has been preparing since 2018 for numerous New Zealand citizens to return from the former Islamic State of Iraq and Syria with their children.

Cabinet ministers last month agreed to the managed repatriation of Suhayra Aden?, who will be the first publicly known adherent of the Islamic State, or Isis, to return to New Zealand after travelling to Syria.

The Government has previously been tight-lipped about the number of New Zealand citizens who joined Isis and survived its collapse.

But a November briefing paper, obtained under the Official Information Act, shows that in 2018 Cabinet ministers signed off on a “foreign terrorist fighters” framework that established three options for managing returning Isis adherents. The report referred to cases, which have been redacted, that “involve young children and each case involves a complex set of facts”.

The paper, written for Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta, also included a two-page list of what it described as a “very small number” of New Zealand citizens that travelled to either Iraq or Syria to join Isis.

The list was entirely redacted by officials.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has previously been declined to provide the number of New Zealand citizens who joined Isis, though the director-general of the Security Intelligence Service has said fewer than a dozen women with New Zealand citizenship left for Syria. These women, like Aden, were later revealed to be living in Australia at the time they left to join Isis.”

Minister for the Intelligence Agencies Andrew Little on Wednesday said he could not confirm whether there were multiple New Zealanders with children in Syria, and he “wouldn’t be in a position to confirm” whether Aden had arrived in New Zealand.

“We know that she is going to be here at some point,” he said.

A spokeswoman from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in a statement on Wednesday that the situation in Syria was very fluid and it was difficult to obtain accurate information about individuals.

“However as has been stated before, there are a small number of NZ citizens – some of whom are dual citizens – who could be there. For national security reasons, we are not prepared to be more explicit about that.”

According to the briefing paper, the “foreign terrorist fighters” policy “does not pre-judge the degree to which individuals may have been complicit in Daesh/Isis atrocities”.

The Government’s approach to foreign terrorist fighters was decided before media reports emerged of another New Zealander who joined Isis, Mark Taylor, being detained in Syria and seeking to return to New Zealand.

Ardern said, at the time Mark Taylor’s detention became known in early 2019, that “contingency planning” for the small number of New Zealand citizens who joined Isis was under way. She said that Taylor would receive no assistance from the Government, unless he made his way to a New Zealand consulate to claim a passport.

The Cabinet paper showed the approach taken with Taylor was one of three options within the “foreign terrorist fighters” – or FTFs – framework.

The three options for the Government were listed as: “management offshore, including leaving FTFs in offshore detention camps”, prosecuting returnees in New Zealand, and rehabilitation and reintegration upon return.

The third option appears to have been taken for Aden, who was expected to return to New Zealand with two children. Ardern last month said Aden’s return to New Zealand would be “managed”, and efforts would be made to reintegrate her and the children.

“Where children of FTFs are involved, the framework is clear that the welfare and best interests of the child need to be at the forefront of any decisions about the child,” the paper stated.

“If the child is ‘deemed to be particularly vulnerable and with no other viable means of support, and it is determined to be in the best interests of the child to return to New Zealand, officials would provide advice on the best means to do so’.”

The paper said there were a number of Isis-aligned people being detained or living in displaced persons camps in northeastern Syria, but the paper did not specify where the New Zealand citizens were.

“Conditions in the camps remain dire with the security situation and lack of necessities, including water and sanitation posing a serious risk to the health and safety of those detained,” the paper stated.

The agencies involved in the management of foreign terrorist fighters are Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Oranga Tamariki, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the police, the Department of Internal Affairs, and the intelligence agencies.