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"Time To Lift Reservation"

Media Release Office of the Commissioner for Children Annual Report

Wednesday 7 November 2001

Hon Roger McClay Commissioner for Children 7 November 2001

"TIME TO LIFT RESERVATION"

It’s time to seriously reconsider the reservation to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child concerning children who are in New Zealand as illegal immigrants," say Commissioner for Children Roger McClay in his Annual Report tabled in Parliament today.

The reservation is one of three which New Zealand indicated when signing the Convention in 1993.

In effect it allows New Zealand authorities to distinguish in law and practice between children here illegally and New Zealand children here legally.

"It seems unlikely that any children are illegally in New Zealand of their own volition," said Mr McClay. "Why punish children by exclusion, because of the sins of their parents?" he asks.

"Rights to benefits and protections such as education, health and safety should be delivered to them," said the Commissioner in his report.

Office of the Commissioner for Children Level 12, 86-90 Lambton Quay PO Box 5610 Lambton Quay WELLINGTON

phone: 4711 410 phone fax: 4711 418 fax

email: children@occ.org.nz email

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