In response to invitations sent to BPW NZ and NCW NZ members, I attended meetings with the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) and the Human Rights Commission (HRC) about the domestic implementation of international human rights treaties, and the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). I have an interest in human rights treaties and in particular CEDAW and UNCRPD.
The first meeting was held in the Auckland office of the HRC but facilitated mainly by the MOJ Manager of the HR Team, Stuart Beresford and Senior Advisor on HR, David Crooke. An apology was received from Chief HRC Rosslyn Noonan as she was in New York at the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). The invitation from the MOJ stated that, in response to a recommendation of the Human Rights Council during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR)of New Zealand, the Government undertook to ensure regular consultation with civil society. Hence the two roundtable meetings in Auckland and Wellington, to update civil society about recent developments and important forthcoming events.
There was also an indication that the MOJ would like to hear from us about our activities and what we saw as the key issues in human rights to help the Ministry identify matters that need to be addressed in advice to Government and in reports to UN treaty bodies. The meeting was cut short from 3 hrs to 1.5hrs, because they thought there would not be much interaction, and we were “talked to”, not consulted “because of time constraints”.
I had especially downloaded, read and made notes on the Summary document “Human Rights in New Zealand 2010” and had no opportunity to comment. A published version was distributed at the meeting and is available from the Human Rights Commission – interesting reading with thirty priority areas for action. This could lead to Actions and policy development from NCW NZ and BPW NZ and other organisations. Much of the information supplied at the meeting will be available on the new MOJ website (www.justice.govt.nz) section on Human Rights. You can find this by selecting Policy Development>Constitutional Policy and Human Rights>Human Rights.
The second meeting in South Auckland, was particularly pertinent to women with disabilities and will lead to action by me for forthcoming annual general meetings of BPW NZ and NCWNZ. Those attending the meetings held around New Zealand on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, were able to comment on difficulties and discrimination being experienced, and non-implementation of the UNCRPD within New Zealand. These comments will lead to the start of the “shadow report” to the first NZ Government Report to the UN Committee (due for completion 31 March). The meeting I attended later focused on UNCRPD Article 6: Women with Disabilities, and Article 23: Respect for Home and Family. The meeting was an example of effective consultation – I will do a report in the May Newsletter.
CONTACTS: Dianne Glenn, 59 East Street, Pukekohe. 2120
09 238 5352 and 0274 284 779