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Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF

Monday, 27 January 2014 (Morning)

(Disclaimer: The following brief is not an official record, provides a brief factual summary of the UPR Working Group meeting with the State under review, and does not cover all points addressed)

State under review

New Zealand
Represented by nine-member delegation headed by Hon Judith Collins, Minister of Justice, Minister for Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC), Minister for Ethnic Affairs

Documents

To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit the New Zealand page on the UPR website

Troika *

Côte d'Ivoire, Japan and the Russian Federation

Opening statement by State under review

Few points raised in the  opening statement of State under review:
(See full statement on the New Zealand page on the UPR Extranet)

  • New Zealand’s national report was a product of extensive consultation with civil society groups. Multiple public consultation meetings had been attended by NGOs. The draft report had also been made available for public consultation;
  • In 2010, New Zealand had moved to support the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and in 2011 had ratified the Optional Protocol on the Rights of the Child on the sale of Children, Child Prostitution, and Child Pornography;
  • New Zealand had also received visits from the Special rapporteur on Indigenous issues and the Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture;
  • On Maori, the delegation said that they were a unique group, which constituted around 15 per cent of the country’s population. Te Reo Maori was considered an official language of New Zealand and Maori had a strong role in the governing of the country; 20 per cent of Parliamentarians were of Maori descent, as well as three Cabinet ministers;
  • Maori were however overrepresented in the criminal justice system both as offenders and as victims; they constituted around half of the prison population. Since the adoption of a Government approach to reduce these figures, the number of young Maori appearing in court had reduced by 30 per cent in the last two years;
  • New Zealand had recognised the key role that identity, language and culture played in educational success and wellbeing. The education curriculum had been revised to embrace the bicultural foundations and the multicultural nature of the country’s society;
  • Since 1998, the gender pay gap had been trending downwards and was currently at 10.1 %. New Zealand ranked in the top ten of the World Economic Forum global gender gap report;
  • New Zealand was determined to eradicate domestic violence. A Family Violence Ministerial Group provided oversight to a whole-of-government approach for dealing with family violence;
  • A recent initiative in the justice area had been the appointment of specialist sexual violence victims’ advisors in courts throughout the country;
  • Protecting children from abuse and neglect was a key priority for the Government. The Ministry of Social Development launched a White Paper for Vulnerable Children and the Children’s Action Plan focussing on children who had been, or are at risk of being abused or neglected;
  • In May 2013, the Parliament had eliminated an area of discrimination with the Marriage Amendment Act, which allowed for marriage between any two people regardless of gender identity, sex, or sexual orientation. This change also allowed for same-sex couples to adopt children, and for couples to remain married regardless of a change in their legal gender;
  • The recent Immigration Amendment Act dealt with the event of an illegal mass arrival on New Zealand’s shores. It recognized that the irregular movement of refuges, asylum seekers and people smuggling were significant issues globally and in the region. New Zealand was one of only a small number of countries with UNHCR annual refugee quota.

Participants

In total 76 States participated in the dialogue:  27 HRC members and 49 observers  (Statements available on the New Zealand page on the UPR Extranet)

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • Progress made in the field of women and children’s rights;
  • Efforts to combat violence against women and domestic violence; 
  • The launching of the White Paper for Vulnerable Children and the Children’s Action Plan;
  • Promoting the rights of persons with disabilities and the formulation and implementation of the Disability Strategy;
  • Steps taken to reduce social and economic inequalities;
  • The 120th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand.

Issues and Questions

Issues and questions raised by the Working Group included, among others:

  • Efforts to address instances of violence against women;
  • Steps taken to improve the rights of children;
  • Measures to eliminate the gender pay gap;
  • Steps to advance the human rights of indigenous populations, especially the Maori population;
  • Efforts to secure Maori political participation;
  • Action taken to speed up the rebuilding and compensation process in the aftermath of the Canterbury earthquakes.

Recommendations

States participating in the dialogue posed a series of recommendations to New Zealand.  These pertained to the following issues, among others

  • To develop an action plan in consultation with all relevant actors a comprehensive action plan to target gender-based violence and violence against women;
  • To allocate adequate resources to ensure the full implementation of measures to prevent violence against women and children;
  • To increase efforts to investigate and prosecute alleged trafficking offenders and adopt legislation that will expand New Zealand’s current anti-trafficking legal framework to prohibit and adequately punish all forms of human trafficking;
  • To develop a national action plan for women to address issues such as violence against women, pay equality, the situation of Maori and Pacific women and women with disabilities;
  • To take further measures to eliminate the gender pay gap across all groups and ethnicities;
  • To take further steps to advance the human rights of indigenous populations and reduce the remaining social differences for and discrimination against the Maori population;
  • To step up efforts to prevent discrimination against members of the Maori and Pasifika communities in the criminal justice system and, in particular, the high rates of incarceration;
  • To ensure the national consultation process involved indigenous persons on matters of their concern;
  • To strengthen efforts to secure Maori political participation at the national level aimed at increasing Maori participation in local governance;
  • To identify human rights and gender implications in the development policies and rebuilding efforts for the Canterbury earthquakes and to speed up the rebuilding and compensation process in the aftermath of the earthquakes;
  • To ensure that surveillance legislation was consistent with international law;
  • Ratification of human rights instruments: The OP to the CRPD; the Convention on enforced disappearances; the Convention on the rights of migrant workers; the Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness; the OP to the ICESCR; ILO Convention 169 (indigenous and tribal peoples); ILO Convention 189 (migrant workers); and the 3rd OP to the CRC (communications).  

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on New Zealand is scheduled to take place on Friday, 31 January 2014

*The troikas are a group of three States selected through a drawing of lots who serve as rapporteurs

** For access to the UPR Extranet, please fill out the following form to receive a username and password

Media contacts: Rolando Gómez, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9711, rgomez@ohchr.org
                    Cédric Sapey, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9695, csapey@ohchr.org

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