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NZ Must Work Harder To Uphold Child Rights

New Zealand Must Work Harder To Uphold Child Rights

The findings of a new report into the state of human rights in New Zealand highlights the urgency of integrating the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) into New Zealand law, said Save the Children today.

New Zealand officially adopted the CRC in 1993, setting the standard for the rights of every young person in the country under the age of 18. In October 2003, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, which monitors the CRC, recommended to the New Zealand Government that it harmonise its legislation with the principles of the CRC.

Save the Children New Zealand’s Executive Director John Bowis said the Human Rights Commission’s report released today confirmed that the reality for thousands of New Zealand children is at odds with their basic entitlements.

“As a developed nation, we cannot sit back and accept that one in three of our children lives in poverty, nor that we have the fifth-worst child death rate as a result of maltreatment,” he said. “Under the CRC, every child has a right to survival, development, protection and participation – and New Zealand has an obligation to uphold those rights, wherever possible.”

“The level of violence against children is unacceptably high in this country and we need a societal and legislative shift to change that - as has already been achieved in some other countries,” he said.

“The repeal of Section 59 of the Crimes Act 1961, which currently provides a statutory defence for parents and caregivers who mistreat children in the name of discipline, would be a positive first step in the right direction.”

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