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


Response to human rights recommendations questioned

UN Human Rights Council combined intervention questions the sincerity of the government’s response to human rights recommendations.

Peace Movement Aotearoa

20 June 2014

A combined intervention to the UN Human Rights Council, delivered by the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) last night on behalf of 12 non-governmental, union and iwi organisations*, questions the sincerity of the government’s response to human rights recommendations.

The intervention was made during the adoption of the outcome report on the second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of New Zealand’s human rights performance by UN Human Rights Council member and observer states, and is available at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/nzupr-ngos-2014.pdf

At the time of the UPR review in January 2014, UN member states made 155 recommendations to improve human rights in Aotearoa New Zealand. The government’s response was released in May, and while at first glance it seemed impressive with 121 recommendations accepted and 34 rejected, unfortunately on closer examination it is not so positive.

Firstly, in relation to the accepted recommendations, the combined intervention raised concerns about the sincerity of the government’s response. Its responses frequently do not address the point of the respective recommendation, for example, those regarding the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and on consultation with Maori; or are misleading, for example, in relation to access to education, access to buildings for persons with disabilities, the level of official development assistance, and the national human rights action plan; or both.

In other instances, the government incorrectly stated that legislation is consistent with its human rights obligations when it is not; for example, claiming that its counter-terrorism legislation “complies with the legal safeguards enshrined in the ICCPR”, whereas the UN Human Rights Committee (which monitors state party compliance with the ICCPR) has clearly stated provisions of the legislation are incompatible with the human rights protected in Article 14.

Secondly, most of the rejected recommendations relate to international human rights instruments and to the constitutional and legislative framework, indicating a lack of commitment by the government to meaningful protection and promotion of human rights both now and in the future.

In the intervention, the NGOs, union and iwi organisations stated that they are deeply concerned at the lack of full protection for human rights under New Zealand's current constitutional arrangements. While this has dangers for all of us, it is particularly harmful for hapu and iwi because successive governments have not hesitated to deny their rights when doing do is perceived to be to the political advantage of the government of the day.

The combined intervention reiterated the UPR recommendations about the constitutional and legislative framework, as well as those from the UN human rights treaty monitoring bodies and Special Procedures, and urged the government to begin a process of constitutional change that will give full effect to the Treaty of Waitangi, and to its obligations under the international human rights instruments.

* Peace Movement Aotearoa, the Aotearoa Indigenous Rights Trust, Auckland Catholic Diocese Bicultural Working Party, Christian World Service, Human Rights Foundation, Network Waitangi Otautahi, Ngati Huarere ki Whangapoua Trust, Pax Christi Aotearoa New Zealand, Pacific Centre for Participatory Democracy, Te Runanga o Nga Kaimahi Maori o Aotearoa (NZ Council of Trade Unions Runanga), Te Runanga o te Whanau, and WILPF Aotearoa call on the government to fully implement all the accepted UPR recommendations, to reconsider those it has rejected, and to develop a transparent action plan to do this.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Relevant Consents Gained: Government Unveils RMA Reform Package

The government has formally hauled down the flag on its attempts to alter the balance of environmental and economic priorities in the Resource Management Act, unveiling a 180-page Resource Legislation Amendment Bill containing reforms that have been largely endorsed by most political parties. More>>


Closing Schools And Such: Interim Redcliffs Decision Announced

“While the school’s board has argued that circumstances that could give rise to potential disruption are extremely unlikely, advice from technical experts has shown these concerns cannot be ruled out." More>>


Jane Kelsey: High Court Can’t Make Groser Provide TPPA Information Faster

‘This week we went back to court to challenge Trade Minister Groser’s stalling tactics over the release of information on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations, following a High Court order that he reconsider the Official Information Act request I made last January’, said University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey, first applicant in the case. More>>

Werewolf 58: No Climate For Change

The last time the global community tried to take collective action on climate change the world’s leaders finally came to agree that every not-too-onerous effort should be made to hold global warming to 2°C above the pre-industrial average. At Paris, all 150 participant countries nations will have put forward their pledges... On the information available, New Zealand's is the second weakest contribution of any nation in the developed world. More>>


Lambton Quay Shutdown: Object Was Made To Look Like Bomb

Police cordoned off part of Lambton Quay Wednesday afternoon, saying that a suspicious package had been found. Buildings were evacuated and buses were detoured. The army’s explosive ordnance disposal unit was brought to the Quay. More>>


Public Sector Still Shrinking: Record Low Number Of 'Backroom Bureaucrats'

Ongoing restraint in the public sector and a focus on better frontline services has seen a further reduction in the number of core Government employees, State Services Minister Paula Bennett says. More>>


Disobeying The Law: Police Censorship Of Crime Research “An Outrage”

The Green Party is calling on Police Minister Michael Woodhouse to ensure Police scrap controversial contracts that place onerous restrictions on academic researchers’ access to Police data, the Green Party says. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news