UN re­sults show NZ has slipped back on child pro­tec­tion

Central Leader - - NEWS -

The United Na­tions has given New Zealand 155 rec­om­men­da­tions to im­prove its hu­man rights con­di­tions.

Many of the rec­om­men­da­tions made by the Uni­ver­sal Pe­ri­odic Re­view work­ing group in Jan­uary re­late to do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and child poverty.

In the pre­vi­ous re­view four years ago the group made only 64 rec­om­men­da­tions.

Green Party hu­man rights spokes­woman Jan Lo­gie says the UN is send­ing a clear mes­sage.

‘‘New Zealand has lost ground when it comes to the pro­tec­tion of our women and chil­dren, and we must make im­prove­ments.

‘‘This is em­bar­rass­ing, but it’s also a very timely re­minder that the Na­tional Gov­ern­ment needs to stop its sys­tem­atic roll back of leg­is­la­tion that pro­tects our most vul­ner­a­ble.’’

Fam­ily Court re­forms, wel­fare re­forms, Im­mi­gra­tion Amend­ment Act, New Zealand Pub­lic Health and Dis­abil­ity Amend­ment Act were among law changes that have been sin­gled out as re­gres­sive by ex­perts, Ms Lo­gie says.

‘‘Of course New Zealand has a lot to be proud of in terms of hu­man rights.

‘‘Gen­er­a­tions have fought very hard for the rights we have. It’s im­por­tant that we hon­our those ef­forts by en­sur­ing we keep pro­gress­ing their vi­sions and don’t lose any ground.’’

Key rec­om­men­da­tions in­cluded es­tab­lish­ing in­di­ca­tors to mea­sure child poverty, strengthen plans to re­duce child poverty and elim­i­nate the gen­der pay gap.

Jus­tice Min­is­ter Ju­dith Collins has wel­comed the rec­om­men­da­tions say­ing the re­port was largely posi- tive. ‘‘The Hu­man Rights Coun­cil recog­nises the in­vest­ment this Gov­ern­ment is al­ready mak­ing to bet­ter sup­port and pro­tect vic­tims of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence,’’ she says.

Ms Collins will now gather New Zealand re­sponses to the rec­om­men­da­tions and present them to Cab­i­net.

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