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UN adopts review of New Zealand’s human rights record

United Nations adopts review of New Zealand’s human rights record

The Human Rights Commission has welcomed news that the United Nations Human Rights Council has adopted the second review of New Zealand’s human rights record.

“New Zealand has a high realisation of human rights but this doesn’t happen by chance. High level engagement with NGOs and our efforts to reduce violence, promote diversity and improve the quality of life of our most vulnerable has been recognised by the UN Human Rights Council,” said Chief Human Rights Commissioner David Rutherford.

‘We can be confident but not complacent. We jealously guard our nation’s high human rights record by constantly striving to improve it. We do this by working with and connecting those with human rights responsibilities – in large part Government and business - with NGOs.

Engaging across sectors ensures the realisation of human rights for New Zealanders is genuine, ongoing and amongst the best in the world.”

Reducing violence and abuse, particularly as they impact on women and children, strengthening children’s rights, reducing inequalities, responding to the aftermath of the Canterbury earthquakes and advancing indigenous rights for tangata whenua Maori are key areas for improvement, Mr Rutherford said.
The State (New Zealand) accepted 121 recommendations and rejected 34 of the UN States’ Universal Periodic Review’s (UPR) recommendations.

Mr Rutherford said the New Zealand Government had acknowledged that some issues raised by the Human Rights Commission and NGOs in their UPR submissions were not reflected in the UN States’ recommendations, for example issues around legal abortion and the rights relating to sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex people.

“We intend to follow up on these issues separately as part of our commitment to ongoing engagement with civil society on the UPR.”

It is the Human Rights Commission’s task now to coordinate the development of New Zealand’s Second National Plan of Action for human rights.

“The aim of that work will be to produce an actionable and measurable plan to address the better protection of human dignity and better realisation of human rights in New Zealand,” Mr Rutherford said.

Every four years the human rights records of all UN member states are reviewed by other States as part of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). New Zealand’s second cycle of the UPR was completed in May 2014 when the Government on behalf of New Zealand accepted 121 of the 155 recommendations made by other States.
New Zealand will report back on progress in four years.


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