The report took note of the significant advances achieved by New Zealand to improve the citizens’ quality of life and guarantee the full enjoyment of their rights, this report focuses on major issues affecting the rights of the Child and Indigenous Peoples, especially the impact of poverty on children and the incarceration rates for Māori children in New Zealand.
Edmund Rice Justice Aotearoa New Zealand and Edmund Rice International made 10 recommendations to the United Nations
- Ensure that the principle of self-determination guaranteed to Māori under UNDRIP is promoted by ensuring that Māori contribute to and develop policies in the Criminal Justice System in meaningful ways.Ensure that when introducing any new policy or legislation the government expressly considers the impact of the policy on Māori through disparate impact statements.
- Implement Justice Reinvestment strategies that include therapeutic jurisprudence approaches, such as the expansion of specialised courts , and the increased use of restorative justice processes that promote community empowerment and the role of elders (kaumatua) in the criminal justice system, such as the Rangatahi Courts.
- Increase the use of non-custodial sentencing options (such as community based orders, community work orders, diversionary programs, cautioning and home detention).
- Resource Māori specific programmes.
- Improve relationships between key stakeholder in the justice system and Māori youth, communities and iwi.
- Develop initiatives that allow Māori to exercise greater rangatiratanga over their youth. In particular, the development of Rangatahi Courts should be encouraged.
- Adopt a preventative and rehabilitative approach to offending caused by drug use though the expansion of the Youth Drug Court model.
- Increase the use of education/ rehabilitation as an order in the youth court. This will need to be coupled with new and innovative ways of providing education for youth who are excluded from education.
- Adopt recommendations made by the Office of the Commissioner for Children, Child Poverty Action Group and UNICEF and develop a National Plan for ending child poverty that is resourced so as to be effective and expedient.
Read the full submisson here – UPR New Zealand submission