New human rights data show New Zealand is falling short

New human rights data show New Zealand is falling short

June 26, 2020

The Human Rights Commission warmly congratulates the Human Rights Measurement Initiative (HRMI) on the release of its 2020 country report for Aotearoa New Zealand

The report found that Māori, disabled people, children, and people in poverty suffer human rights violations in Aotearoa. Of 13 rights measured, New Zealand’s scores only place it in the top ‘good’ category for 3 rights. The data are based on figures from international databases between 2007 and 2017.

“The data confirm that poverty is a human rights issue in Aotearoa. Wellbeing, including economic and material wellbeing, lies at the heart of ensuring a whānau’s human rights and dignity are protected. We are falling short in this respect as a country,” says Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt.

“There is a strong link between poverty and all of New Zealand’s economic and social rights scores. This is especially true for food and housing issues.”

“HRMI is breaking new ground. Their work confirms that Aotearoa has a lot of room to improve its human rights record.”

Māori were identified by experts as suffering a high level of human rights violations. The rights of disabled people were also found to be particularly at-risk. Threats to the rights of children and young people was signaled as a concern.

Disability Rights Commissioner, Paula Tesoriero, said “this survey continues to show the rights of disabled people are viewed by human rights experts as among the most at risk of being violated in New Zealand, across the rights to work, education, housing, health, and food.”  

“Only actions that make substantive and tangible differences will change these views. Disabled people need to be front and centre in policymaking and not left to languish in the too-hard basket."


More information

The Human Rights Measurement Initiative is the first global project to track the human rights performance of countries. Its 2020 Human Rights Country Reports give human rights scores on up to 13 different human rights contained in United Nations treaties, for over 200 countries.  The civil and political rights data, and the people at risk responses, were collected as the Covid-19 pandemic was beginning to sweep the world.

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