Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


UN recommendations on racial discrimination welcomed

4 March 2013

Federation welcomes UN recommendations on racial discrimination

The New Zealand Federation of Multicultural Councils welcomes the recommendations made to the New Zealand Government this week by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

The Committee considered New Zealand’s performance in race relations in Geneva on 22-23 February, and has now published its conclusions. Minister of Justice and of Ethnic Affairs Hon. Judith Collins led the New Zealand delegation that met with the Committee.

“The Committee’s 15 recommendations cover some of the most important race relations issues that we face as a society in New Zealand”, says Federation President Tayo Agunlejika. “They range from Treaty issues, racial inequalities and structural discrimination to languages, racism on the internet and asylum seekers.”

“We support all the recommendations but are particularly pleased that the Committee has taken up two issues raised by the Federation: discrimination against migrants in employment and the proposed abolition of the designation of Race Relations Commissioner in the Human Rights Commission. We particularly urge the Government to act on these recommendations.”

Mr Agunlejika said that the Committee had expressed concern at the remarks by MP Richard Prosser, and recommended that the Government “intensify its efforts to promote ethnic harmony through, inter alia, raising awareness in order to combat existing stereotypes and prejudices against certain ethnic and religious groups.”

Other recommendations of particular relevance to the Federation’s members concerned support for the maintenance of community languages, action to address racism on the internet, and non-detention of asylum seekers.

The full text of the Committee’s report is available here.

Federation submissions and Committee recommendations:

Discrimination against migrants

What the Federation submitted:
“There is considerable research that indicates that one of the major forms of discrimination that migrants and ethnic minorities face in New Zealand is in relation to employment. This is also the experience of our members. Employment discrimination takes a number of forms. One significant form is that many overseas professional qualifications are not recognised by New Zealand professional bodies, meaning that migrants are employed (if they achieve employment) in work below their level of qualification. Although we recognise the need for registered qualifications we believe that this is used by some professional and registration bodies to protect their members from competition by migrants despite the need for these skills. We submit that this represents discrimination in terms of the right to work under Article 5 € (i) of the Convention”

What the UN Committee recommended:
16. The Committee is concerned at reports of persistent discrimination against migrants, particularly of Asian origin, in the labour market, including reports of inadequate recognition of their educational qualifications, which leads to their concentration in low-paying jobs (Articles 2 and 5).

The Committee recommends that the State party ensure the full and effective enforcement of the measures taken to protect Asian migrants, including targeted measures to strengthen equal access to the labour market in order to alleviate the concentration of qualified individuals in low paying jobs. The Committee further urges the State party to support a system for the objective assessment of their educational qualifications.

Role of the Race Relations Commissioner

What the Federation submitted:
“The Federation is concerned that the Human Rights Amendment Bill currently before Parliament will abolish the designation of Race Relations Commissioner and make the role subject to the direction of the Chief Human Rights Commissioner. The Office of the Race Relations Commissioner was established in 1972 in order for New Zealand to comply with the Convention, and was merged with the Human Rights Commission in 2002. Assurances were given by the government at the time to ethnic communities that this merger would not affect the role or indepedence of the position of Race Relations Commissioner, which replaced that of Race Relations Conciliator. The present amending legislation will, in our view be a breach of that assurance and will reduce the visibility, accessibility and indpendence of the position. We consider that this will compromise the government’s obligation under Article 6 of the Convention to provide effective protection and remedies to persons experiencing racial discrimination.”

What the UN Committee recommended
6. While noting that the proposed Human Rights Amendment Bill is designed in part to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the Human Rights Commission and to broaden its mandate to cover matters such as disability, the Committee is concerned that this amendment may negatively affect the visibility, accessibility and independence of the Race Relations Commissioner (Article 2).

The Committee recommends that the State party considers retaining the designation of the Office of the Race Relations Commissioner in order to maintain its visibility and accessibility in the State party. The Committee also recommends that the State party ensure that any change effected by this amendment guarantee the independence of the Office of the Race Relations Commissioner to undertake its mandate effectively.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On First Time Voting (Centre Right)

For the next two days, I’m turning my column over to two guest columnists who are first time voters. I’ve asked them to explain why they were voting, for whom and what role they thought their parental upbringing had played in shaping their political beliefs ; and at the end, to choose a piece of music.

One guest columnist will be from the centre right, one from the centre left. Today’s column is from the centre right – by James Penn:

As someone who likes to consider himself, in admittedly vainglorious fashion, a considered and rational actor, the act of voting for the first time is a somewhat confusing one. I know that my vote has a close to zero chance of actually influencing the outcome of Parliament. The chance I will cast the marginal vote that adds to National or Act’s number of seats in Parliament is miniscule. The chance, even if I did, that doing so would affect the government makes voting on a strictly practical level even more spurious as a worthwhile exercise.

But somehow I have spent a large amount of time (perhaps detrimentally so, depending on the outcome of my upcoming exams) agonising over how to cast my first vote in a national election. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

SURVEILLANCE:

Election Ad Soundtrack: Rapper Eminem Sues National Party Over Copyright Breach

US rapper Eminem is suing the New Zealand National Party for alleged copyright infringement over unauthorised use of the rapper’s ‘Lose Yourself’ song in an election campaign advertisement. More>>

ALSO:

Pre-Election Chartering: Four New Partnership Schools To Open

Education Minister Hekia Parata today announced the Government has signed contracts to open four new Partnership Schools in 2015. More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf 50 Out Now - The Election Issue: Loss Leaders

Gordon Campbell: A third term requires a mature decision, with eyes wide open. It calls for a conscious vote of confidence… Without trying hard here are about 19 reasons, in no particular order, for not ticking ‘party vote’ National. More>>

ALSO:

Not-Especially New Plans: All Prisons To Become Working Prisons Under National

All public prisons in New Zealand will become full working prisons by 2017, and ex-prisoners will receive post-release drug addiction treatment if National is returned to government, says Corrections Spokesperson Anne Tolley. More>>

ALSO:

Māngere: "False Claim Of Matai Title" - Labour

National must explain why its candidate for Māngere Misa Fia Turner appears to be using a Matai title she is not entitled to, Labour’s MP for Māngere and Pacific Islands Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio says. A Matai title is a legally-recognised ... More>>

ALSO:

CPAG Report: No New Zealand Child Should Grow Up In Poverty

Child Poverty Action Group's flagship policy publication Our Children, Our Choice: Priorities for Policy calls for cross party political agreement to underpin an action plan to eliminate child poverty in New Zealand. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell:
On National’s Phantom Tax Cut Package

Hmmm. So National’s tax cuts package turns out to be one of those television advertisements that screams a headline promise – perfect skin! a youth tonic that works! – while in very small print there’s an out clause: special conditions may apply. More>>

ALSO:

Water: New Marine Reserves On West Coast Opened

Five new marine reserves were officially opened by Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith on the West Coast of the South Island to protect a range of marine ecosystems for conservation, science and recreation. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news