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Case studies provide weather map of human rights

Human Rights Commission
Media Release
09 December 2006

Case studies provide weather map of human rights in New Zealand

A booklet of case studies released by the Human Rights Commission to mark International Human Rights Day tomorrow (December 10) provides a weather map of New Zealand’s human rights issues.

“10 Human Rights Cases that Made a Difference” charts the peaks and troughs of the social tensions and human rights issues that affect everyday New Zealanders.

The booklet illustrates the range and impact of discrimination complaints mediated by the Commission’s Disputes Resolution Service or dealt with through the Commission’s broader mandate. It includes cases relating to discrimination on the basis of religious belief, disability issues in employment, breastfeeding at work, the Mohammed cartoons, age, sexual harassment and race.

“These case studies demonstrate the discrimination that many New Zealanders continue to face. They serve as a timely reminder for Human Rights Day that although New Zealand has achieved much in relation to human rights there is still work to be done,” Chief Commissioner Rosslyn Noonan said today.

International Human Rights Day marks the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). This year marks the 58th anniversary of that historic event.

The UDHR was the first internationally agreed statement of universal respect for human rights and forms the lynchpin of the international human rights framework. The signing of the UDHR was a global acknowledgment that the horrors of World War II must never be repeated.

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New Zealand was an important advocate during the Second World War and afterwards, through the development of the United Nations and the peace processes, for a world based on human rights and fundamental freedoms.

“The rights set out in the UDHR are still extremely relevant today. They provide the best basis for ensuring the dignity, equality and security of every man, woman and child in New Zealand and elsewhere,” Ms Noonan said.

Ends

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