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UN Human Rights Committee examines NZ's performance

UN Human Rights Committee examines NZ's performance next week

Issues include the lack of constitutional and legal protection for civil and political rights, the Treaty of Waitangi and indigenous peoples' rights, the TPPA, support for drone strikes, activities of the GCSB and SIS, privatisation of prisons, tasers, counter-terrorism legislation, and military spending

Peace Movement Aotearoa

11 March 2016

The UN Human Rights Committee, which monitors state party compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), will examine New Zealand's performance next week, during its 116th session in Geneva. This update has a brief overview of the issues raised in NGO and other reports to the Committee, and details of where you can watch the interactive dialogue between Committee members and the government's representatives.

Issues raised in NGO reports

Three NGOs (the Aotearoa Indigenous Rights Trust, Aotearoa /New Zealand Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex UPR Coalition, and Peace Movement Aotearoa), the Monitoring Mechanism of the National Iwi Chairs Forum, Cooper Legal, Privacy International, the New Zealand Law Society, Tony Ellis (Barrister), and Andrew Judd (New Plymouth District Mayor) provided information to the Committee.

Issues raised in the reports include:

* The constitutional and legal framework and lack of protection for ICCPR rights, (Article 2 and other Articles) and the Treaty of Waitangi - with specific information on the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act Declaration of Inconsistency, New Zealand Public Health and Disability Amendment Act 2013, Countering Terrorist Fighters legislation and other legislation that breaches ICCPR rights, consideration of constitutional issues and the Constitutional Advisory Panel Report, and issues around the functional independence of the NZ Human Rights Commission;

* Indigenous Peoples' Rights, (Articles 1, 2, 26 and 27) - including issues around the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), settlements of historical Treaty breaches, lack of consultation with hapu and iwi on a number of issues including Te Ture Whenua Maori Act reform, removal of the Treaty reference in the Judicature Modernisation Bill, and issues around local government, the Treaty and indigenous peoples' rights;

* Privatisation of prisons and conditions of incarceration, (Articles 2 and 10);

* Electro-muscular disruption devices / tasers, (Articles 6 and 7), and

* The activities of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) and Security Intelligence Service (SIS), (Article 17 and other Articles).

In addition to most of the issues above, Peace Movement Aotearoa's report also provided information on government support for, and complicity in, extrajudicial executions by way of US UAV / drone strikes and issues around public spending priorities and the allocation of public funding for military purposes. Our 2016 report is available at


Interactive dialogue

The interactive dialogue between government representatives and Committee members will be held at 3pm on Monday, 14 March (NZ time:3am, Tuesday, 15 March) and at 10am on Tuesday, 15 March 2016 (NZ time: 10pm, Tuesday, 15 March) - the interactive dialogues will be broadcast live at http://www.treatybodywebcast.org/treaty-body-webcast-i The government is sending a delegation of eight, which comprises officials and diplomats from the Ministries of Justice and Foreign Affairs, led by Amy Adams, Minister of Justice, and her political advisor.

Where you can get more information

Information about the ICCPR and its Optional Protocols, the Human Rights Committee, New Zealand and the ICCPR, and the Committee's Concluding Observations on New Zealand, is available at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/iccpr.htm (click on the 2009 and 2010 link) - detailed information on the Committee's current consideration of New Zealand's performance, including the two sets of NGO reports in 2014 and 2016, will be available on that page next week. This update is available at https://www.facebook.com/PeaceMovementAotearoa


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