More to do on 60th anniversary of human rights declaration

Green Party MP Keith Locke says New Zealand still has several human rights challenges 60 years after it signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Tomorrow, December 10, is the Universal Declaration’s 60th anniversary.

“Not everyone’s rights – particularly those of new migrants and Maori – are yet fully protected in New Zealand,” says Mr Locke, the Party’s Human Rights Spokesperson.

“For example, the Immigration Bill, currently before Parliament, does not provide all new migrants the fair public hearing provided for in Article 10 of the Universal Declaration. Evidence against the migrants can be kept secret from them.

“Our immigration criteria are biased against non-English speakers contrary to the anti-discrimination provision in Article 2 of the Declaration.

“The police raids in Tuhoe country a year ago violated Article 12’s prescription that ‘no one shall be subject to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family [or] home’.

“With a minimum wage of only $12 many Kiwis are not guaranteed the Article 23 right ‘to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity’.

“The Universal Declaration should also govern our foreign policy. We should not be so timid in speaking out against repressive regimes in powerful countries like China, where so many articles in the Declaration are violated. These include the right not to be subjected to arbitrary arrest or torture, and the right to free speech, which can also be expressed ‘through any media and regardless of frontiers’.

“We should also uphold the rights of the world’s indigenous peoples by signing up to the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. New Zealand is one of only four countries that have voted against it,” Mr Locke says.

“We should be proud of the role our diplomats played in formulating the text of the Universal Declaration all those years ago. But from this flows that a responsibility to make sure that our democratic nation stays true to its provisions.”

* A petition calling

on the Government to support the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

will be handed over to Green Party MP Keith Locke, at 1pm tomorrow (Wednesday) at the steps of Parliament. Maori Party MPs Rahui Katene, Hone Harawira, and Te Ururoa Flavell will also take part.