Latest human rights data finds little improvement in New Zealand’s standing

Latest human rights data finds little improvement in New Zealand’s standing

June 25, 2021

The Human Rights Measurement Initiative (HRMI) latest release of its 2021 country report for Aotearoa New Zealand shows progress remains slow.

The new data found Māori and disabled people are two groups that experience a wide range of human rights violations with poverty and inequity pointed at as key drivers behind human rights violations. 

According to the country report, people with low social or economic status are particularly vulnerable to rights abuses and to not enjoying their full rights to basics like food, health, housing, and education. 

HRMI found single parent families continue to disproportionately experience rights violations. Concerning levels of torture and ill-treatment in New Zealand were signaled in the report, as well as elevated threats to the social rights of children and young people.

“The data confirms that economic and material wellbeing remains a significant hurdle towards the realisation of human rights in New Zealand. Ensuring a whānau’s dignity is protected requires the government to meet its human rights obligations. HRMI’s data shows Aotearoa is making little progress on this front,” says Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt.

Disability Rights Commissioner, Paula Tesoriero, said it is good to have this new data even though the results are disappointing. 

“It reiterates what we already know, disabled people continue to risk human rights violations across health, housing, work, food, and education. It is important that current government reforms in these areas address these issues,” Tesoriero said. 

Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon said the data showed indigenous rights and the realisation of Te Tiriti o Waitangi are not being upheld in Aotearoa.

“This latest data shows that many Māori continue to suffer violations of their human rights, especially in the areas of housing and health. This should encourage those working in these sectors to continue to strive to combat inequities,” Foon said. 

“HRMI’s data has shown the most vulnerable groups have felt the impacts of the pandemic the most across the world, including in Aotearoa New Zealand. This shows that New Zealand’s ongoing response to COVID-19 must place particular focus on Māori, migrant, refugee and ethnic communities to reduce human rights violations.”