April 05, 2016
UN concern at Maori in prison
The United Nations Human Rights Committee has criticised New Zealand’s record on Maori unemployment, imprisonment, the foreshore and seabed and the Trans Pacific Partnership.
The committee has just finished its sixth periodic report on a range of issues submitted by the government and by non-government organisations including iwi.
Among the positive moves since the last report it identified the law banning foreign charter fishing vessels, the 2014 Vulnerable Children Act, the adoption of a Maori action plan for disability support services and the Ka Hikitia Maori education strategy.
But it was concerned the Government continues to pass laws that are inconsistent with the 1990 Bill of Rights and with the UN Convention on Human Rights.
It says while New Zealand needs to address the high Maori and Pasifika unemployment, especially among women and young people.
It also needs to do something about the disproportionately high rate of Maori at all levels of the criminal justice system including prison.
Other concerns include whether the replacement for the Foreshore and Seabed Act, the Maori and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act of 2011 has helped any Maori secure rights to their customary land, and that there wasn’t enough engagement with Maori before the signing of the Trans Pacific Partnership.
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