New Zealand reviewed by the UPR
Friday, 08 May 2009 03:05


New Zealand was reviewed by the Working Group on the universal periodic review (UPR) on 7 May 2009. The delegation was headed by the Minister of Justice, Mr Simon Power. A large number of States took part in the constructive dialogue that saw open responses and acknowledgement of key challenges by the Government of New Zealand. The following issues were among the key concerns on which States made comments and recommendations.

  • Indigenous peoples, in particular the Maori population. There was widespread concern about the continuing disparities between the Maori and non-Maori population with regard to among others housing, health, education and employment, over-representation in the criminal justice system in general and as victims and perpetrators of violence. Questions were also raised regarding the constitutional status of the Treaty of Waitangi and States enquired about developments relating to the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004 and the settlement of land claims by the Maori. States recommended that New Zealand step up its efforts to improve the situation of the Maori. In this regard States suggested that it ratify International Labour Organization Convention 169 and support the International Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.
  • While women are well represented at the parliamentary level, concerns were expressed about stagnation at the local government level and in other areas such as the judiciary. In addition, disparities exist in wage earnings between men and women and women continue to be under-represented in senior management. Affirmative action was suggested as one possible measure. Concerns were expressed about the absence of a detailed and comprehensive definition of discrimination against women in national legislation and low rates of prosecution for violence against women. The Government of New Zealand was urged to take effective measures to prevent such violence, address its underlying causes and ensure that it is more effectively measured and recorded.
  • Some States raised concerns regarding counter-terrorism. New Zealand was reminded to uphold its human rights obligations in its measures to counter terrorism. It was also encouraged to amend its anti-terrorist legislation to reinforce procedural guarantees and ensure the promotion and protection of human rights.
  • International Obligations and Cooperation with international mechanisms. States recommended the ratification or the consideration of ratification of the International Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. It was also suggested that New Zealand should adopt the Final Outcome Document from the recently-held Durban Review Conference, despite its non-participation.


The Working Group on the UPR considered the report on the UPR of New Zealand on 11 May 2009. New Zealand kept all of the 64 recommendations it received pending. It will provide responses to all of these in time for the 12th session of the Human Rights Council in September 2009.

In its comments, New Zealand also said that it would provide additional answers on a bilateral basis where it was not possible to answer exhaustively during the review.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 May 2009 02:50
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