Senior United Nations official visits Christchurch in the wake of the Mosque attacks

Senior United Nations official visits Christchurch in the wake of the Mosque attacks

April 8, 2019

A senior United Nations human rights official is visiting New Zealand this week to show solidarity and learn, at first hand, how communities and the country are responding to the Christchurch Mosque attacks.

Kate Gilmore, the United Nations (UN) Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, will be the first major UN official to visit New Zealand in relation to the Christchurch mosque shootings.

She was invited by the New Zealand Human Rights Commission.

Ms Gilmore’s visit will commence tomorrow (Monday 8 April) in Christchurch when she will meet with Mayor Lianne Dalziel.

On Tuesday, she will be the guest speaker at a panel discussion with community groups at the Great Hall Arts Centre, co-hosted by Christchurch City Council and the New Zealand Human Rights Commission.

Ms Gilmore says she is extremely honoured to have the privilege of meeting with the Mayor, Councillors and community.

“The local events of March have also a global significance. In the aftermath of such shock, loss and sorrow, the universal principles and the city’s local practices of human rights are reaffirming and asserting our common humanity. ” says Ms Gilmore.

New Zealand’s Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt says Ms Gilmore’s visit underlines the international attention that has been focused on New Zealand’s response to the tragedy, as well as the human rights implications of the mosque shootings. 

“Many people around the world have admired the response of local leaders and the public in the immediate period after the shootings. Interest is growing in what we do in the long term to address the issues raised by the attacks.”

The Commission believes that Ms Gilmore’s visit will be helpful as she knows the region well and she will be able to provide a global perspective on how other communities and countries have recovered from similar tragedies. 

Mr Hunt says that as well as hearing the experiences of community groups, iwi and the people of Christchurch, Ms Gilmore is likely to be involved in discussions about human rights, hate speech, gun laws and the responsibilities of social media companies.

Ms Gilmore will be in New Zealand from Sunday 7 – Thursday 11 April. After Christchurch she will head to Wellington and Auckland for meetings with officials and community leaders.