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Commission Brief Select Committee On Human Rights

Human Rights Commission

Media Advisory - 05 October 2004

Commission to brief Select Committee on human rights

At the request of the Justice and Electoral Select Committee, which is considering its new responsibilities for human rights under Parliamentary Standing Orders, the Human Rights Commission is to brief the Committee tomorrow on human rights and the key issues raised in their report Human Rights in New Zealand Today.

The report was released on 1 September and is the first ever to comprehensively detail the state of human rights in New Zealand. It found that overall we are doing well but there are some critical areas where we are failing that need to be addressed.

Key themes to arise from the report were:

* The need to emphasise responsibilities as well as rights, including not only the responsibilities of the State but also of individuals, communities and the private sector

* The possible "fragility" of New Zealand's human rights protections

* The relationship between human rights standards and the Treaty of Waitangi

* The value of applying a human rights approach to development and implementation of legislation, policy and practice

* The low level of formal awareness of human rights amongst New Zealanders, despite strong identification with and support for the substance of human rights and a sense of fairness.

The Commission will brief the committee at a public session at 10am tomorrow.

The conclusions from that report will be used as a basis to develop a New Zealand Action Plan for Human Rights which will help set the human rights agenda in New Zealand for the next five years.

ENDS

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