NZ to build on strong human rights reputationJustice
The Government has formally responded to a report by a UN agency that highlights New Zealand’s strong track record in protecting New Zealanders’ human rights, Justice Minister Judith Collins says.
The report, from the United Nations Human Rights Council, includes 155 recommendations based on a Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of New Zealand, which Ms Collins attended in Geneva earlier this year.
“The Government accepts the vast majority of the recommendations, many of which encourage our nation to continue our current programmes that make New Zealand a leader in the field of human rights,” Ms Collins says.
“Nearly all countries commended our excellent human rights record and acknowledged the progress we are making in protecting women and children against violence, and recommended these efforts continue.”
Ms Collins says while the rate of family violence in New Zealand is still unacceptable, she is pleased that other countries on the Council have recognised the investment the Government is making to better support and protect the victims of domestic violence.
“This Government has already increased the maximum penalty for breaching a protection order from two years imprisonment to three, and also expanded the definition of domestic violence to include economic and financial abuse.
“Participation in domestic violence programmes can be ordered when a protection order is issued by the Family Court, or through the criminal court. I have asked the Ministry of Justice to work with the providers of these programmes to improve the way they’re delivered.
“The Government has invested $1 million to expand the successful Safe@home programme to improve the security of victims’ homes. We’ve also introduced the Victims of Crime Reform Bill which will improve victims’ rights and require the development of a ‘Victims Code’.
“We have a lot to be proud of in New Zealand, but we must continue working to improve our existing programmes, in order to maintain our world-class reputation.”
All 193 UN member countries are required to undergo a UPR process – where their human rights performance is examined – every four and a half years.
New Zealand will provide an update of progress made on the recommendations in mid-2016.