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Te Tiriti and human rights issues in Aotearoa raised with diplomats in Wellington

The need to protect the rights of mokopuna and children was a common theme shared with diplomats at an event hosted by Te Kāhui Tika Tangata Human Rights Commission in Wellington.

Māori and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) together with independent human rights institutions presented their views last week on the state of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and human rights in Aotearoa ahead of New Zealand’s fourth Universal Periodic Review in Geneva, Switzerland, on 29th April 2024.

More than 30 diplomatic missions were represented at the Commission’s event from all regions of the world. The submissions they heard will contribute to United Nations members (States) recommendations for the Government.

The session was in addition to a pre-session held in Geneva in February which the Commission, independent monitoring mechanisms and some non-government organisations also participated in.

Presenters shared common concerns about the rollback of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the impact on future generations.

“We must acknowledge the beating hearts affected by human rights abuses, both past and present,” Tatau-Urutahi | Tino Rangatiratanga Leader at the Commission, Julia Whaipooti said.

Other issues raised included access to gender affirming healthcare, the rights of disabled children to access inclusive education, discrimination experienced by Muslim communities, child poverty reduction and the need for a human rights focus on climate change mitigation.

The Islamic Women’s Council New Zealand (IWCNZ) spoke to the limitations of the Royal Commission and Coronial Inquiry into the Christchurch mosque attacks on 15 March 2019.

“It was a huge attack on a small community within a small nation in front of a global audience that has had big and ongoing consequences.”

The IWCNZ called for political will and sufficient funding for reparations and a comprehensive support programme to “restore and repair the impacted and the community”.

The Children’s Convention Monitoring Group (CCMG) called on States to recommend the New Zealand Government upholds child protection legislation that honours Te Tiriti o Waitangi and highlighted the right of all children to be free from violence, including children in State care.

Among other recommendations, grounded in the views of children, the CCMG also called for prioritising children’s rights in climate change mitigation and policy.

“The climate crisis is a children’s crisis, and all children have the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment,” CCMG chair Chief Children’s Commissioner Dr Claire Achmad said.

“As climate change worsens in Aotearoa, the adverse impacts are expected to be borne disproportionately by Māori children and other groups already suffering inequities, and they must be empowered to be directly involved in leading the solutions to mitigate and slow the climate crisis.”

Sonya Rimene on behalf of Wairarapa Moana ki Pouākani Incorporation submitted on the breach of rights related to “our lands, territories, and resources”, and included a call for upholding the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. They also called for amending the Bill of Rights Act to include economic, social and cultural rights and the right to self-determination as set out in the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights.

Presenters:

Amnesty International, Children’s Convention Monitoring Group, Citizens Commission, Community Law, Cooper Legal, Federation of Islamic Associations of NZ, First Union, Independent Monitoring Mechanism for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Independent Monitoring Mechanism Pou Tikanga/National Iwi Chairs Forum, Inclusive Education Action Group, Islamic Women’s Council NZ, Office of the Ombudsman, Rural Women, Network of Survivors of Abuse in Faith Based Institutions, Te Ngākau Kahukura, Te Kāhui Tika Tangata | Human Rights Commission, Wairarapa Moana ki Pouākani Incorporation

 

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