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Monday, December 13

Amnesty International welcomes Human Rights Commission Report

Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand (AIANZ) welcomes the recent release of the New Zealand Human Rights Commission’s (HRC) report, Human Rights in New Zealand 2010, as an invaluable examination of how human rights are promoted, protected and implemented in New Zealand.

The report is a summary of New Zealand’s compliance with its international human rights obligations and is a timely reminder that abuses can and do occur here in New Zealand.

While the report highlights that most people do experience fundamental rights and freedoms in their daily lives, the HRC has selected thirty priority areas for action to improve human rights in New Zealand.

“More action in these priority areas will ensure greater protection for the dignity, equality and security of all people in New Zealand,” says Patrick Holmes, CEO of AIANZ. “The report presents a range of important recommendations, not least of which is the establishment of a Human Rights Select Committee to improve the consistency of domestic legislation with New Zealand’s international human rights obligations.”

“It is timely that, while a replacement to the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004 is currently being considered by the Māori Affairs Select Committee the report highlights the need to develop and implement new pathways to partnership between Tangata Whenua and the Crown, and to promote awareness of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” says Holmes.

Amnesty International also believes the report’s reiteration of the need to protect the rights of refugees is also timely given the recent discussions around the establishment of a regional processing centre to address the issue of people smuggling. The report importantly highlights the need for the development of a partnership model between refugee service related agencies and the government to effectively roll out and monitor the new Immigration Act.

“This report provides a strong evidential foundation for further discussion and work to develop plans to strengthen human rights in New Zealand. We look forward to continuing to contribute to this ongoing discussion and working with the HRC to improve the promotion and protection of human rights in New Zealand in the future,” says Holmes.

Human Rights in New Zealand 2010 is downloadable from http://bit.ly/fx301p