Justice Minister to attend UN Human Rights Council

Justice Minister Andrew Little will deliver New Zealand’s statement to the 47th Session of the United Nations Human Rights council as he leaves for Geneva, Switzerland today.

“Kiwis can be proud of our global reputation as a defender of human rights. We were the first country to allow women to vote, we consistently top international records for low levels of public sector corruption. And the historic Treaty of Waitangi settlement process is about confronting our past so we can walk forward together.

“We can do better. The Labour-led government is resetting the human rights agenda by committing to tackling child poverty, making tertiary education accessible again through fees-free, confronting climate change and energy poverty, funding and supporting the family re-unification scheme for refugees, speaking up for the elimination of nuclear weapons, and fixing the national housing crisis that has robbed families of their right to shelter.

“While in Europe I will present New Zealand’s report to the United Nation’s committee on International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and visit the successful Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission. The Labour-New Zealand First coalition agreement commits to establishing a Criminal Cases Review Commission in New Zealand so manifest injustices like that suffered by Teina Pora are righted.

“I will also meet justice-sector Ministerial counterparts in the Netherlands and visit a Dutch prison. In recent years the Netherlands has been so successful in reducing crime that they are closing prisons. In New Zealand the previous National government left a legacy of rising violent crime, an inhumane approach to sufferers of mental illnesses, and a prison crisis which we have plans to fix,” says Andrew Little.