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Re-Evaluation To Take Race Relations Seriously


Ministerial Re-Evaluation Exercise Promises To Take Race Relations Seriously

The Race Relations Conciliator welcomes the examination of the Race Relations Office as part of a re-evaluation of New Zealand's Human Rights Act and the current system of human rights institutions.

Dr Prasad said "It is time to evaluate how best to organise the promotion of positive race relations in New Zealand's developing cultural environment".

"It is generally agreed that race relations is a defining aspect of present day New Zealand society and that much more needs to be done through public education to create a greater level of awareness of our respective cultural heritage and practices", said Dr Prasad.

The Race Relations Conciliator, in his last four Annual Reports to Parliament, has alerted New Zealanders to the trend towards a potential worsening of race relations in New Zealand and of the need to give greater leadership for improving our future in this area. However, this is the first occasion in recent years on which the Government has taken steps to focus on race relations, as an aspect of human rights.

"In particular, I welcome the perspective of mainstreaming human rights, being promoted by the Associate Minister of Justice, because it means that both the public and private sectors will need to consider the implications of their policies and practices for positive race relations in New Zealand" said Dr Prasad.

The next 12 months will be very important for race relations globally because the United Nations World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance is to be held in South Africa in August next year, and much of the work for this Conference takes place in the period leading up to the Conference.

"Consequently, what New Zealand does to place its anti race discrimination laws, policies and practices on a better footing could potentially contribute to the international debates and discussions which will take place in the period leading up to the World Conference" said Dr Prasad.

"This re-evaluation is motivated by the desire to create and sustain a human rights environment which enables people to reach their individual and collective potential. I support this motivation and my Office will cooperate fully to assist it to achieve its goal in the race relations area", said Dr Prasad.


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