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Media Statement from ILGA New Zealand Representatives

Community Leaders Respond to Governments Response of the Universal Periodic Review Report

The Universal Periodic Review is a once in a five-year process where the United Nations and other Governments review our Human Rights in New Zealand and make recommendations to our government.

This is the third time New Zealand has been through the Universal Periodic Review and the first time we have received Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Sexual Characteristics and Expression recommendations that affect the rainbow community. "This is a big moment for our government, and they have not delivered", said Rāwā Karetai, one of the New Zealand Representatives from ILGA (the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex).

Karetai continues saying that, "The Government have only noted the recommendations rather than accept the recommendations which, for us as a community does not go far enough".

"We expect the Government to follow through with the recommendations. We have been through a lengthy process, consulting far and wide across New Zealand. Pulling together a joint submission from our communities and I want to thank those members of the community who put in a lot of effort and time to do so", Karetai said.

Karetai said that "The community said that they wanted explicit protection for Gender Identity, Sexual Characteristics and Expression so that all rainbow people would be protected under the law".

Karetai said that "We need the Government to go further than just amending the Human Rights Act. We need training and resources to ensure everyone in the rainbow community is protected from discrimination. We know that discrimination still happens. It’s been 11 years since the Transgender enquiry and on the 10th anniversary, the Human Rights Commission talked about how discrimination is still prevalent, and how we have advanced in some areas of society but failed to do so in others",

At least since 2005, the Human Rights Commission has interpreted the act to included trans people. However, trans people themselves, have said that they don’t currently feel protected by the act, even though the Human Rights Commission interprets the Act in such a way. The recommendations we have are aimed towards protecting Trans and Intersex people. Intersex people aren’t covered by the Human Rights Act at all". Karetai said.

There were three recommendations that related to our rainbow community. Two from – Iceland, Australia to amend the Human Rights Act to include populations that are currently excluded from the act and one from Chile which recommended that we should not have nonconsensual intersex surgeries, which the government have accepted.

"It is certainly disappointing from this government that they have failed to accept the recommendations. The labour party have a strong rainbow policy and we would hope that they can demonstrate that they care about our communities like they said they are. So that we can flourish and thrive, we hope that the government take these recommendations seriously".

Rāwā Karetai, one of the New Zealand Representatives from ILGA (the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. Rāwā is a human rights defender, campaigning for human rights in New Zealand and overseas.


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