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NZ Govt - Committed To Making Rights A Reality?

NZ Government - Committed To Making Rights A Reality?

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL NZ
MEDIA RELEASE
Wednesday 10 December 2003 12.01am

International Human Rights Day, 10 December
NZ government - committed to making rights a reality?

On International Human Rights Day, 10 December, Amnesty International NZ welcomed the New Zealand government's ongoing commitment to strengthening human rights in NZ but questioned its commitment to making those rights a reality for everyone.

"Rights mean little if they are not made a reality for people as communities, nations and individuals," said Amnesty International NZ spokesperson, Rebecca Lineham.

"Ongoing work on the New Zealand Action Plan for Human Rights is a really positive development, but if this government truly wants to develop a robust human rights culture in New Zealand, it must live up to its stated commitment to put human rights considerations at the heart of all domestic and international policy, and create the mechanisms within government that will achieve that," Ms Lineham said.

The ongoing detention of Algerian refugee, Ahmed Zaoui, without charge or trial, is being observed globally as a test of the New Zealand government's commitment to making human rights a reality. Well-known social commentator, Noam Chomsky, wrote to the Minister of Immigration earlier this year saying:

"I am writing only to express my hope and trust that his case will be handled fairly and expeditiously, in accord with the high standards of protection of civil rights that we have come to expect in New Zealand for many years."

"Human rights are the responsibility of everyone in the government and the public service ? that is stipulated in our Bill of Rights. What we are seeing in the Zaoui case is a lot of passing the buck, said Ms Lineham. "It demonstrates the growing need for a stronger whole-of-government approach to human rights."

ENDS

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