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NZ’s reputation strong, efforts to continue

NZ’s reputation strong, efforts to continue

Justice Minister Judith Collins has welcomed the United Nations Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) recommendations on how New Zealand can continue to promote and protect domestic human rights.

Ms Collins presented New Zealand’s second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) report on our human rights record in Geneva this week. All 193 UN member countries must report on their human rights performance every four and a half years.

“The reception New Zealand received was fantastic – nearly all countries commended our excellent human rights record,” Ms Collins says.

“Many countries acknowledge the progress New Zealand is making in protecting women and children against violence and recommend New Zealand to continue its efforts in these areas.

“The rate of family violence in New Zealand is unacceptable but I’m pleased the Human Rights Council recognises the investment this Government is already making to better support and protect victims of domestic violence.

“We have increased the maximum penalty for breaching a protection order last year from two years’ imprisonment to three, and also expanded the definition of domestic violence to include economic and financial abuse.

“Domestic violence programmes are available when ordered through the criminal court, or when a protection order is issued by the Family Court. I have asked the Ministry of Justice to work with providers of these programmes to improve the way they are delivered.

“The Government has invested $1 million from 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2014 to expand the successful Safe@home programme to improve the security of victims’ homes. We have also introduced the Victims of Crime Reform Bill which will improve victims’ rights and require a ‘Victims Code’ be developed.

“I have also asked officials to explore the use of GPS and other technology to monitor people who breach protection orders to better protect victims of domestic violence.

“We have a lot to be proud of in New Zealand but we must continue to work hard to strengthen and improve our existing programmes to maintain our world-class reputation.”

Ms Collins will now take New Zealand's responses to the UPR recommendations to Cabinet before submitting them to the UN by June this year.

ENDS

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