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New Zealand needs to take a human-rights based approach


New Zealand needs to take a human-rights based approach

Acting Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero will highlight significant human rights issues in New Zealand with United Nations member states in Geneva this week.

Every five years, United Nations member states hear about the human rights issues facing New Zealanders and then make recommendations to the New Zealand Government about what needs to happen to address these issues.

Ms Tesoriero says that while progress has been made since the last review, New Zealand still needs to bring aspects of its human rights legislation and policy into line with international obligations.

“There are a number of areas where positive change has occurred. These include updated pay equity legislation, progressive reforms to family violence legislation and the soon-to-be-enacted Child Poverty Reduction Bill,” Ms Tesoriero says.

“This progress should be celebrated. However, there remains a lot to do across several key areas, including improving access to housing, reducing our rates of family violence and child abuse and reducing structural inequalities for Māori, Pacific peoples, disabled people, women, migrants, refugees and Rainbow communities.

“At this United Nations review, the Commission is recommending that the Government develop a policy and legal framework in which all our human rights commitments are fully integrated. This should include our obligations under the Sustainable Development Goals and the Treaty of Waitangi. We consider this approach is required in order to reduce current disparities and improve human rights outcomes,” Ms Tesoriero says.

“The Government is undertaking comprehensive reviews and inquiries in several social sector areas. This provides a unique opportunity to place human rights in the centre of future policies, laws and services.”

ENDS

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