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Freedom Of Expression Must Be Protected

Fundamental Human Right To Freedom Of Expression Must Be Protected

17/07/02

The decision by Auckland International Airport to remove a display promoting Falun Gong, a spiritual movement originating in China appears to infringe on the fundamental human right to freedom of expression, the Human Rights Commission said today.

“The right to impart information and ideas is one of the cornerstones of a free and democratic society and must be safeguarded.” Chief Commissioner Rosslyn Noonan said.

“We must always be mindful of the right of individuals and groups to speak freely about their beliefs and practices. While sometimes there may be good reasons to restrict this right – in this case the Airport’s decision appears to be excessive”.

“It is imperative that, at a time when we are having free and fair elections and upholding the right of people to express their opinions without fear of repercussions, we similarly protect other peoples rights to express opinions about cultural beliefs and practices”.

The Commission will be writing to the Chinese Embassy and Auckland International Airport to discuss its concerns in more detail.

Ends

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