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Campaign priorities for UN Security Council bid

New Zealand must make public its campaign priorities for UN Security Council bid

As Prime Minister John Key holds meetings in New York to bolster New Zealand’s bid for a two year seat on the UN Security Council human rights must be on top of the agenda, said Amnesty International.

The human rights organisation welcomes the bid as an important opportunity for New Zealand to play a greater role in international bodies but is calling on the Government to use its position to overcome inaction and injustice.

“The New Zealand government must make public it’s campaign priorities to prove it will live up to its promise to be an independent and principled voice, and a country that ‘stands up for small states’,” said Grant Bayldon, Executive Director at Amnesty International New Zealand.

“Despite all the talk about winning support and the cost of the bid, we’re yet to hear detail about the concrete plans New Zealand is basing its bid on.”

Amnesty International is urging New Zealand to use its bid to address inaction on the Council and ensure the personal interests of voting countries do not trump action on grave human rights violations.

“For example, the UN Security Council’s consistent failure to act on the crisis in Syria, due to the crippling veto power of the five permanent members, is shameful and must be addressed,” said Grant Bayldon.

“Unfortunately the New Zealand Government’s reluctance to take a strong public stance condemning human rights atrocities in Sri Lanka when given the opportunity in November last year brings into question its ability to be that principled voice when put to the test.”

The bid, if successful would see New Zealand hold a temporary seat on the Security Council from January 2015 until December 2016.

“If New Zealand wins this bid they will have a remarkable opportunity on the global stage to take a leadership role in addressing human rights violations,” said Grant Bayldon.

Amnesty International is strongly calling on the New Zealand government not to waste this opportunity but instead show that they really are prepared to be what the Security Council so desperately needs, a small country prepared to speak independently and from principle.

ENDS

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