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New Zealand’s Universal Periodic Review 

Draft Working Group report on New Zealand's Universal Periodic Review on 27 January 2014

The draft Working Group report on New Zealand’s Universal Periodic Review at the Human Rights Council on 27 January can be found here. The Human Rights Council will eventually issue the final version under the symbol A/HRC/26/3.

New Zealand’s official response to recommendations received from States during the UPR can be read here [PDF 60KB]. It will be adopted in the June Human Rights Council session.

Update on New Zealand’s Universal Periodic Review session on 27 January

New Zealand will undergo its 2nd cycle Universal Periodic Review from 9am to 12pm on Monday 27 January in Geneva.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has published on its website New Zealand’s national report, a compilation of UN information and its summary of stakeholders’ information.

The Minister of Justice, Judith Collins, will lead the presentation to the Human Rights Council supported by a delegation of officials from the Ministry of Justice, Te Puni Kōkiri and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The New Zealand Human Rights Commission will also attend the session, working closely with the official delegation.

Following the session, officials will be holding a debrief for interested New Zealand-based stakeholders in Geneva at 3:30pm on 27 January at the New Zealand Permanent Mission, which the New Zealand Human Rights Commission will attend. Please contact Alana.Messent@mfat.govt.nz if you would like to attend this meeting.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, together with the New Zealand Human Rights Commission, will be hosting a second debrief session in Wellington for those in New Zealand interested in learning more about the session and about the work ahead responding to recommendations from states. Further details and invitations will be sent out over the next couple of weeks.

We would like to thank all of those who attended the public consultation meetings and provided feedback or submissions on the draft national report during the consultation period. This feedback has been invaluable in ensuring that the process is as balanced and representative as possible.  

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].

Why is the UPR important?

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.

Who can be involved?

Anyone who is interested can participate in the UPR process, including:

Does the review also cover Tokelau, Cook Islands and Niue?

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.  

The UPR process

Reporting stage

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 consultation process

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.

Why is feedback important?

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.

The submission process

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

Other ways stakeholders can participate

Examination stage

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.

After the examination

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. 


Calendar of Events

NZ Human Rights Commission information dissemination meetings:

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

Contact details

For any queries or for further information please contact upr@mfat.govt.nz

Key documents

New Zealand’s 2009 UPR

OHCHR page on New Zealand

Recent New Zealand Universal periodic review statements




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Page last updated: Thursday, 19 February 2015 14:45 NZDT