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Parlt Congratulated for Putting Children First

UNICEF Media Release 17th May 2007

UNICEF Congratulates Parliament for Putting Children First.

The passing of the Crimes Amendment Bill (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) brings New Zealand into line with international obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

David Kenkel, UNICEF Advocacy Manager, stated:

‘More than just compliance with international law, the repeal of Section 59 marks a very important moment for New Zealand’s children.

Children will now share with adults the legal right to be safe from violence. This bill creates a fantastic legal platform of respect for children that will help guide our country to do the work of creating true well-being for all New Zealand children.’

Dennis McKinlay, UNICEF Executive Director, said:

‘Many people in New Zealand have worked hard to make this happen. This change is very exciting.

In recent months Greece and Holland have introduced legislation similar to the section 59 repeal. We are joining a growing list of countries that have brought in legal changes to make their children safer by banning physical violence for the purposes of correction.

However, New Zealand has taken the lead by being the very first English speaking country to introduce this kind of legislation. There will be a great deal of international attention on New Zealand as a consequence.

New Zealand's political leaders, who put their differences aside so as to put children first, deserve our respect, praise and thanks.’

He went on to add:

‘As recent international reports on violence against children show, much of the world is not safe for children - public attitudes and laws that condone and support violence against children are commonplace and ordinary in many countries. The repeal of section 59 means that New Zealand can now take its place as a leader in showing the world how to treat children with respect and care.’

ENDS

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