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Report on Human Rights in Canterbury Recovery

Commission Releases Report on Human Rights in Canterbury Recovery

The Human Rights Commission is releasing a report today calling for people and their human rights to be put at the heart of the recovery in Canterbury, says Chief Commissioner David Rutherford.

“At its best, this is what the recovery has been about. There are some great examples of that. But where we get stuck is when the affected people are left out of the picture.

“The Canterbury earthquakes represent one of New Zealand’s greatest contemporary human rights challenges.

“Most New Zealanders may not see it in those terms, but we all recognise the situations of those still living in broken homes, fighting to resolve insurance claims, or struggling under the strain of financial hardship.

“The report examines human rights challenges that have emerged during the recovery and makes 33 recommendations to improve access to adequate housing, health services and help business make a positive contribution to human rights.

“Progress has been made. Everyone involved is working hard and doing their best, but we can do better. Many residents affected by the earthquakes continue to experience deteriorating standards of living and quality of life that go beyond the immediate effects of the disaster.

“We are now seeing high levels of psychosocial harm caused by the stress of community dislocation, financial distress, unresolved insurance claims, and poor or insecure housing. Rights to property, housing and participation in decision-making have also become major issues.

“A natural disaster is no excuse for human rights to be ignored. In fact, Canterbury shows us that when human rights are incorporated in the response and recovery, they can lead to better decisions, better services and a stronger recovery for everyone.

“Today’s report draws out practical lessons from this experience for improving human rights outcomes. By sharing these, my hope is that we can improve the situation for affected residents and help better prepare for any future disaster, says David Rutherford.

A copy of Monitoring Human Rights in the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery is available on the Human Rights Commission website at: http://www.hrc.co.nz/?attachment_id=9754


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