Written By: - Date published: 10:05 am, February 3rd, 2014 - 18 comments
Categories: child abuse, crime, democracy under attack, discrimination, john key, Judith Collins, Maori Issues, pasifika, poverty, sexism - Tags: domestic violence, jan logie
The latest report from the UN Human Rights Council shows the NZ government has been slacking off with respect to its protection of and support for the human rights of all Kiwis. (Draft report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review* New Zealand) The government tried to gloss over some of the most worrying of the reports findings and recommendations. It is particularly avoiding focusing on some of the deep seated underlying causes of discrimination and suffering.
Some like minister Judith Collins has talked up the government’s current legislative work. She has tended to focus on punitive measures for offenders rather than on eliminating the damaging behaviours. She also has tended to talk up the benefits of surveillance of criminal offenders, thus extending the reach of the surveillance state.
TV 3 News gave an overview of the report’s findings.
The international community has issued New Zealand more than 150 recommendations to improve its human rights record.
The recommendations, which come out of a United Nations meeting in Geneva, involve signing international conventions, reducing child poverty, minimising disparity between Maori and other New Zealanders and improving woman’s rights.
On Tuesday, the Law Society criticised Ms Collins’ national report for omitting “significant human rights issues in the New Zealand context”.
The society says the parliament’s use of urgency to push through laws and enactment of Bill of Rights-inconsistent legislation are key human rights issues.
The report said women and children are victims in the most severe cases of family violence, and men are responsible for two-thirds of the deaths of all children. Maori are over-represented both as perpetrators and victims.
Judith Collins reported responses to the poor report on domestic violence in NZ, focus on punishment while she only pays some limited and general lip service to prevention. Radio NZ reports:
Justice Minister Judith Collins said the progress New Zealand is making in protecting women and children against violence is recognised internationally, but it is clear more work is needed.
She said the maximum penalty for breaching a protection order was last year increased from two to three years’ jail, and she was asking officials to explore the use of GPS and other technology to monitor people who breach protection orders.
However, on domestic violence the report asks for a focus on prevention and underlying causes. (The report takes a similar approach with respects to criticisms of NZ’s could-do-better record on ethnic discrimination, inequalities, and inter-related income inequalities and poverty). The report
The UN draft report specifically says:
128.108. That the measures taken to reduce domestic violence be followed up, adapted and extended on solid empirical bases (Switzerland);
128.109. Improve the monitoring and evaluation of domestic violence prevention programmes and agencies (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland);
128.110. Continue to strengthen measures and plans to address and effectively eradicate the causes of domestic violence against women, including training and capacity building programmes on human rights for civil servants of the State that address this issue (Chile);
128.111. Put in place a comprehensive policy against violence to slightly reduce domestic/family violence and protect vulnerable populations (Congo);
128.112. Further improve programmes that address violence against women and children (Germany);
128.113. Enlarge the scope of the White paper for Vulnerable Children and its Children’s Action Plan by taking into account the relationship between child abuse and contributing factors such as domestic violence and poverty (Slovenia);
Jan Logie of the Green Party provides an overview:
The UN’s Universal Periodic Review Working Group issued 155 recommendations for New Zealand early this morning, many in relation to domestic violence and child poverty. This is up from only 64 recommendations at the last review of New Zealand.
25 of the recommendations related to women’s rights – particularly to equal pay and safety. 18 related to inequality and the socio-economic disparities that Maori, Pacific and minority communities suffer compared to other New Zealanders. 7 specifically refer to child poverty amongst many other important issues reflecting this Government’s failure to protect our rights.
Logie summarises the key recommendations in the report, with respect to domestic violence and protection of children:
* Establish indicators to measure child poverty;
* Further strengthen and expand national action plans to reduce child poverty and that of their families;
* Speed up the rebuilding and compensation process in the aftermath of the Canterbury Earthquakes;
* Include economic, social and cultural rights Review in the Bill of Rights Act;
* Take concrete measures to ensure the implementation and promotion of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;
* Eliminate the gender pay gap;
* Put in place a national strategy to combat domestic violence;
* Continue combating and condemning racism and hate speech used by politicians as well as the expression of racism in the media, in particular discriminatory language and hate speech and the dissemination of racist ideas and languages;
* Make sure the Immigration Amendment Act will not create unfair discrimination;
* Continue its efforts to effectively implement the New Zealand Disability Strategy.
On human rights, NZ has been going backwards while Key’s government has been in power.