Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Times of Georgia
HomePoliticalNZ’s Human Rights Record ‘Tarnished’ At UN Rights Review

NZ’s Human Rights Record ‘Tarnished’ At UN Rights Review


Responding to Aotearoa New
Zealand’s fourth Universal Periodic Review (UPR)
by
the United Nations Human Rights Council’s UPR Working
Group in Geneva, Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand
is reiterating
its call
on the Government to raise the age of criminal
responsibility.

“Yet again, the New Zealand Government
has been called out for its failure to uphold the rights of
children,” says Campaigns Director Lisa Woods.

In
2019, the UN Committee of the Rights of the Child called on
countries to set their age of criminal responsibility to at
least 14 years old. Last year, this Committee repeated
their call
on the New Zealand Government to raise this
country’s minimum age of criminal responsibility, which
was set at only 10 years old in 1961. Likewise, the UN
Committee against Torture has expressed
their concern
at the shockingly low threshold for
criminalising children in Aotearoa New Zealand. Now,
representatives from around the world – including Norway,
Mongolia, Germany and Georgia – have called on our
government to address this blatant breach of child rights
standards.

Advertisement – scroll to continue reading

“When children are forced through criminal
proceedings at such a formative age, they can suffer immense
harm to their health, wellbeing, and future. But since their
brains are still developing, the capacity for change and
rehabilitation is considerable – when given a fair chance,”
says Woods.

“The recommendation to raise
the age of criminal responsibility to at least 14 is based
on extensive research and international deliberation. The
fact that successive governments have failed to respond to
global criticism means Aotearoa New Zealand’s human rights
record has been tarnished on the world stage. If the
Government can ‘raise the energy’ it brings to
international engagements, it can surely raise the age of
criminal responsibility in line with international human
rights standards.”

The age of criminal
responsibility was one of numerous human rights issues
raised during Aotearoa New Zealand’s UPR. Other key themes
included the imperative to address racism and
discrimination, the disproportionate representation of
Māori in prison, and the need to progress
an action plan
to uphold the United Nations Declaration
on the Rights of Indigenous
Peoples.

Background

Amnesty International
Aotearoa New Zealand launched
a campaign
calling on the NZ Government to raise the age
of criminal responsibility in 2022.

The call to raise
the age of criminal responsibility is part of a suite of
changes urgently needed to reduce the harm currently
occurring in the criminal justice system. At the same time,
Amnesty International is calling on the Government to carry
on the impetus for transformational
change
to ensure the country’s systems uphold Te
Tiriti o Waitangi and respect the human rights and dignity
of
all.

© Scoop Media

Advertisement – scroll to continue reading

 



Source link

- Advertisment -
Times of Georgia

Most Popular