The Human Rights Commission has paid tribute to everyday Kiwis who stand up for the rights of other people. The 10th December marks the day when the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.
“It’s easy to stand up for human rights when times are easy but it takes courage and faith to stand up for human rights when times are tough,” said Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy."
“Those Kiwis who decide to not be a bystander and who stand up for others are everyday heroes.”
This year several New Zealanders have publicly made a stand and challenged everyday racial abuse and attacks.
More New Zealanders are also backing a national campaign to increase our refugee quota – unchanged since 1987.
“They’re not famous people but they do what many of us never do: they decide to not be a bystander, they decide to stand up for a stranger whether it’s a refugee thousands of miles away or a person sitting next to them on the bus,” said Dame Susan.
“New Zealanders like to think of ourselves as open minded, tolerant people but we need to walk the talk. Human rights begin at home, here where we live, work and pray.”
Dame Susan, religious and political leaders spoke at a multi-faith peace vigil, “Prayers for Peace” hosted by the NZ Muslim Association at Avondale’s Islamic Centre in Auckland last night. The vigil was dedicated to all those affected by war and extremism.
Members from various faiths, government and non-governmental organisations took part. There are now plans to make this a regular event.