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The government’s national 2nd cycle Universal Periodic Review report [PDF 216 KB] was submitted to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on 4 November 2013.
Cabinet approved the final report on 29 October 2013 following a round of consultation meetings across New Zealand earlier this year and the release of the draft report for public consultation from 22 August to 19 September 2013.
Many thanks to all stakeholders and members of the public who provided feedback through the consultation sessions or comments on the draft report.
We would encourage those interested in the report and the UPR process to read more about how the process works and find out the various ways you can be involved.
Minister of Justice, Hon Judith Collins, will present at New Zealand’s Universal Periodic Review examination at the Human Rights Council in Geneva on 27 January.
What is the UPR?
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 also includes a section on Tokelau's human rights situation [PDF 38KB], 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 held public consultation meetings in various regional centres.
This is your chance to have a say.
The draft report is available for public comment now, 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.
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.
|September 2013||Consider public comments|
|October 2013||Submit final report to Cabinet for approval|
|4 November 2013||Submit UPR report to United Nations in Geneva|
|27 January 2014||New Zealand's UPR examination in Geneva|
|January/February 2014||Adoption of outcome report for New Zealand by the UPR Working Group|
|March 2014||New Zealand's final UPR report adopted by United Nations Human Rights Council plenary|
|May 2014||New Zealand written views on conclusions and or recs, voluntary commitments and replies (optional)|
For further information check out the New Zealand Human Rights Commission website
For any queries or for further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org