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Human rights report criticises social exclusion

Human rights report criticises social exclusion

1 September 2004

Human rights report criticises social exclusion: Green MPs

Green MPs Keith Locke and Sue Bradford have endorsed the Human Rights Commission's Summary Report and its criticism of the marginalisation of minority groups and general social exclusion in New Zealand.

"We must overcome the entrenched economic and social inequalities and the abuse of rights faced by minority groups outlined in this report," said Mr Locke, the Green Party's Human Rights spokesperson.

"The Commission is releasing an Action Plan to be released later this year, I hope the Government doesn't wait till then before taking action on the specific issues raised here," said Ms Bradford, the Greens' Housing and Children's Issues Spokesperson.

Mr Locke: "We share the Commission concerns 'that human rights standards are being abrogated in the interests of national security'.

"We must address the unacceptable marginalisation of Maori, Pacific people, migrant groups, women and disabled people.

"At the point where these two issues converge, migrant groups have a particularly hard road. As a compassionate society we can't allow Muslims to continue to suffer the 'religious intolerance, harassment and abuse' the report identifies. Injury is added to insult by the routine detention of asylum seekers, who are often Muslims. The Greens support the Commission's call for investigation of the conditions and length of imprisonment of asylum seekers, including children, and the concerns it has expressed over the Ahmed Zaoui case," said Mr Locke.

Ms Bradford: "This report highlights the fact that NZ's law still doesn't acknowledge the universal right to adequate housing, as does, for example, the UK. The Green Party believes the right to good housing must be made manifest in legislation. Central and Local Government should both accept a role in providing housing for those most in need. And Government should be a lot more open to looking at new options for providing social housing through genuine 'third sector' housing and finance initiatives that could help break the cycle of dependence on the private and state sectors.

"On the issue of abuse and neglect of children, I note the report makes no bones about calling for the repeal of Section 59 of the Crimes Act, which legalises the use of force against children. Again, this is something our current Government could do immediately if it had the will do so, and the Green Party would provide it with the support it needs to repeal this unjust law," said Ms Bradford.

ENDS

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