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Discrimination against Asians remains a key issue

Discrimination against Asians remains a key race relations issue

Asian New Zealanders and international students continue to experience racial discrimination and harassment, according to a report released today by Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres.

Mr de Bres said this was evidenced by a survey of perceptions of discrimination conducted by UMR Research, Statistics New Zealand’s general social survey, media reports of hate crime, a racism study in Nelson last year and complaints to the Human Rights Commission.

Mr de Bres released results of the UMR survey as part of his annual review of racial discrimination and harassment, at a meeting of the Federation of Multicultural Councils in Nelson today (20 February).

Public perceptions of discrimination against ethnic groups, and particularly Asians, have increased in the past 12 months. Two-thirds of survey respondents nominated an ethnic group when asked who they thought was most discriminated in New Zealand, and 28 per cent identified Asians. In a further question, when given a list of 14 named groups to choose from, 75 per cent identified Asians as the most discriminated against.

The 2009 Statistics New Zealand general social survey also asked questions about discrimination. The survey showed 10 per cent of New Zealanders experienced discrimination. The most common grounds were race, ethnic group or skin colour, and Asians experienced the most discrimination.

Examples of discrimination and harassment regularly heard by the Commission included discrimination in employment, verbal abuse (often shouted from people in cars), having water bombs and eggs thrown at them, abuse by neighbours, rubbish being tipped over the fence, damage to property and cars, bullying in schools, and harassment in the workplace.

“This type of behavior is not carried out by the majority of New Zealanders, but it is common and everyone needs to help put a stop to it,” said Mr de Bres.

Mr de Bres made five recommendations for addressing the situation:

Encouraging people to share stories of discrimination, harassment and abuse (in the workplace, education sector, health sector and communities).

Countering the relatively high incidence of discrimination against Asian New Zealanders, through government, businesses, school and community action.

Ensuring the safety of international students, including effective reporting mechanisms, through the education sector, police and local government action.

Police collection of data on racially motivated crime, as recommended by the United Nations Periodic Review of New Zealand and the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Formally welcoming and acknowledging international students and temporary migrant workers in communities (for example, at Race Relations Day events).

The review of racial discrimination and harassment forms part of the Commission’s annual Race Relations Report, which will be released in Auckland on 11 March.


Mr de Bres’ presentation at the NZ Federation of Multicultural Councils meeting: 11.15am, Saturday 20 February, Auckland Point School, 111 Haven Road, Nelson.

Read the discrimination and harassment chapter of the Race Relations Report (PDF 340Kb).

Download a copy of the UMR Research Perceived Discrimination omnibus results (PDF 420Kb).

ENDS

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