Welcome to the latest Human Rights Commission newsletter Tūrangawaewae – a summary of recent developments on the New Zealand human rights landscape, and the work the Commission is doing for a better, fairer New Zealand.
This issue covers Māori Language Week, our new video that reflects on the 125 anniversary of Women’s Suffrage, an invitation to organisations to participate in the UPR process, a new report that raised concerns for an estimated 5000 elderly New Zealanders who live in secure dementia units and psychogeriatric facilities, and more.
Paula Tesoriero, Acting Chief Human Rights Commissioner
Comment: Education in te reo Māori is a basic human right, says HRC's Paula Tesoriero
For Māori to be enjoying success as Māori, te reo needs to be everywhere and all the time, not just this week. While this Māori Language Week is quite rightly showcasing te reo Māori, there remains a substantial opportunity to increase its use by investing more into te reo Māori education. Despite all the efforts that have gone into Māori language revitalisation, and many positive developments in recent years, te reo Māori is still classed as a "vulnerable" and endangered language by the United Nations. Read Paula’s full article here.
HRC releases Suffrage 125 video
On September 19 the Human Rights Commission premiered its Suffrage 125 video – Still Striving for Equality, which features a former Prime Minister, a former Governor General, a Supreme Court Justice and On the Rag podcasters from The Spinoff. Still Striving for Equality reflects on the gains that women have made in New Zealand since they won the right to vote in 1893. At the same time, it focuses on the serious human rights issues still facing women today – our unprecedented family violence statistics, the gender pay gap and a lack of women in business leadership. Watch the video here.
Organisations are invited to participate is New Zealand’s 3rd Review under the UPR
On 21 January 2019, New Zealand will undergo its third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) by the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council in Geneva. This is a significant international review of New Zealand’s human rights record by UN Member States. As an outcome of the process, UN Member States will issue recommendations to the New Zealand Government. In order to enable the participation of civil society organisations, a “pre-session” is held in Geneva approximately one month before the review. This year, we will be hosting an in-Country pre-session, with Geneva-based organisation UPR-Info, in Wellington on 26 October. We're inviting organisations to register their interest in the pre-session, as well as attend a training in Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch in the coming months. Read more about how to be involved here.
HRC represented at Pacific Roundtable on women’s and girls’ human rights
Two Human Rights Commission advisors were in Samoa last week at the Asia Pacific Forum Roundtable on promoting and protecting the human rights of women and girls in the Pacific region. An important outcome of the meeting was the ‘Apia Statement’, which identifies key human rights issues affecting women and girls in the region. “The Apia Statement also makes recommendations on the prioritisation and promotion of gender equality within established National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), Non-Government Organisations (NGOs), ombudsmen’s offices, government agencies and others working in this area,” says Dr Margaret MacDonald, a Senior Human Rights Advisor at the Commission. Read more here.
HRC raises concerns for locked-up elderly New Zealanders
The Human Rights Commission has raised concerns in a new report questioning the legal and human rights safeguards for an estimated 5000 elderly New Zealanders in secure dementia units and psychogeriatric facilities. The Commission’s chief legal adviser Janet Anderson-Bidois spoke about these issues on Newshub. Watch more here.
HRC backs red zone property offer
Acting Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero led the Commission in welcoming the Government’s mid-August announcement of a new offer to buy properties in the Christchurch earthquake residential red zones. “The offer of 100 percent of the 2007/08 rateable value, regardless of insurance status, is an important step in enabling people who still live on or own red zone land to consider their options,” Ms Tesoriero says. Read more here.
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