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The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a mechanism of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council (HRC). The HRC uses the UPR process to examine the human rights performance of all 193 UN members, including New Zealand.
Each country submits a national report to the HRC, which is then measured against the various international human rights treaties to which it is a party, as well as the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, international humanitarian law and any voluntary commitments that the country has made.
The UPR is designed to ensure the HRC treats every country equally when assessing the domestic human rights situation.
The UPR process takes place once every 4 and a half years, and is intended to initiate a national dialogue on the human rights situation in the country under review. New Zealand’s first review was completed in 2009. Of the 64 recommendations that other countries made, New Zealand responded to 56 favourably and did not accept eight.
You can view New Zealand’s response to the UPR Working Group [PDF 130KB, NZ Justice department website].
The ultimate goal of the UPR process is to improve the domestic human rights situation of every UN country, through a constructive and meaningful dialogue with the international community.
The UPR provides an important opportunity for all UN member countries, non-governmental organisations and relevant bodies of the UN to raise any concerns about the human rights situation in the country under review. It is also an opportunity to share knowledge and best practices on human rights issues. Equally, it offers governments the chance to take stock of their own human rights situations, gain feedback from the public, and report on any progress made and on-going challenges faced since their last review.
Anyone who is interested can participate in the UPR process, including:
New Zealand’s national report will also include a section on Tokelau’s human rights situation, as New Zealand is internationally responsible for the fulfilment of obligations contained in treaties that we extended to Tokelau.
Given New Zealand’s special constitutional relationships with the Cook Islands and Niue their governments have also been consulted, and will have an opportunity to comment on the draft report.
New Zealand must submit a national report outlining the domestic human rights situation, and the steps the government has taken towards implementing the last UPR report and bringing about human rights improvements for New Zealand citizens. The government is required to undertake public consultations when drafting this report.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and the New Zealand Human Rights Commission will be holding meetings with interested parties before New Zealand’s national report is submitted in October 2013.
Public consultations will take place across New Zealand in various regional centres. Members of the public, Iwi and community stakeholders are invited to these consultation. More information on dates and locations can be found below:-
This is your chance to have a say.
The draft report should be available for public comment in late July, and interested parties can make written submissions through this website.
The UPR consultation process gives the New Zealand public and all other interested groups an important opportunity to comment on the state of human rights in New Zealand. These groups can provide valuable insights into human rights concerns and bring the government’s attention to issues in their communities that they feel are relevant.
Comprehensive feedback and active participation from the New Zealand public in the consultation process is important to ensure that the national report is thorough and accurate.
You can learn about the submission process at the public consultations (link to calendar of events)
NGOs and other interested groups can also make submissions directly to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), based in Geneva. The OHCHR then summarises this information into a ‘shadow report’. The submission deadline for submitting information (known as stakeholders’ reports) to the OHCHR is 17 June 2013.
The OHCHR’s technical guidelines for NGO submissions are available here: Information and Guidelines for relevant stakeholders on the Universal Periodic Review mechanism (as of July 2008) - PDF 74KB
The review of New Zealand’s national report takes place at the HRC in Geneva in January 2014.
The review involves an interactive discussion between the New Zealand delegation presenting the report, and the UPR Working Group composed of all UN member countries. The interactive discussion, chaired by the HRC President, provides an opportunity for all UN member countries to take the floor to ask questions and make recommendations on the human rights situation in New Zealand. New Zealand, as the country under review, can take the floor regularly to respond to any questions and comments.
Following the review by the Working Group, a report is prepared by three countries (elected members of the HRC) with the involvement of the New Zealand delegation.
This report, referred to as the “outcome report”, provides a summary of the interactive dialogue, the responses by New Zealand to the questions and recommendations, and the full list of recommendations made by other countries.
New Zealand can then review and accept any of the recommendations and improve its human rights practice accordingly, or explain why it does not accept them.
Finally, the report is adopted during the Working Group session a few days after the review, and then again at a full session of the HRC.
|Auckland||14 March||Afternoon (TBC)|
|Wellington||19 March||Afternoon (TBC)|
|Dunedin||4 April||Afternoon (TBC)|
|Hamilton||9 April||Afternoon (TBC)|
|Christchurch||16 April||Afternoon (TBC)|
|Invercargill||25 April||Afternoon (TBC)|
For further information check out the NZ Human Rights Commission website
|Auckland||18th April||5.00-7.00pm, MFAT Auckland Office, Level 6, 139 Quay Street, Auckland CBD|
|Wellington||22nd April||5-7pm, St John’s in the City, 170 Willis Street, Te Aro.|
|Christchurch||23rd April||2-4pm, Undercroft Room 101, James Hight Library building, University of Canterbury. 20 Kirkwood Avenue Ilam 8041|
|Kaitaia||30th April||10.00am, Toko Tumoana Building 24-26 Matthews Ave, Kaitaia|
|Dunedin||10th May||12-2pm, Dunningham Suite, Dunedin City Library 230 Moray Place.|
|Rotorua||16th May||11am-1pm, Distinction Rotorua Hotel & Conference Centre, 390 Fenton Street, Rotorua|
For any queries or for further information please contact email@example.com