NZ Green Party
60th Anniversary of Universal Declaration

On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The rights seem so simple and so obvious that we in New Zealand quite easily take them for granted.

The document is not legally binding in the way a treaty is, but it does formally define what is meant by fundamental freedoms and human rights in the legal sense when those terms are used in other treaties and the United Nations Charter.

In his press release yesterday, Keith Locke points out a couple of instances where NZ doesn’t live up to the declaration, even after 60 years:

For example, the Immigration Bill, currently before Parliament, does not provide all new migrants the fair public hearing provided for in Article 10 of the Universal Declaration. Evidence against the migrants can be kept secret from them.

Our immigration criteria are biased against non-English speakers contrary to the anti-discrimination provision in Article 2 of the Declaration.

Despite adopting the Declaration, the United States violated or falsely reinterpreted multiple principles in order to execute the occupation of Iraq and the building of Guantanamo Bay, a situation that President-elect Obama promises to rectify as soon as he is sworn in.

It is clear that human rights are something that we have to work on continuously and never take for granted, even in our supposedley mature democracies. It is a living document that should be celebrated and enforced to the best of our ability.

34 thoughts on “60th Anniversary of Universal Declaration

  1. Yawn

    Less than 7% care Frog, any press release issued by Keith Locke is not going to help your cause either.

    I had hoped that the new Parliament might see a change in Keith however his speech yesterday confirmed that he still hate everything to do with the USA.

    It is interesting that a man who supported Pol Pot has a dislike for Guantanamo Bay but then Keith has always been blind to the atrocities of the left.

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  2. big bro – every time I read your references to Pol Pot, I’m reminded of the Nelson ‘puppy incident’. It’s very upsetting.

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  3. greenfly

    There is no need to be upset Comrade, I have never been to Nelson in my life where as Locke is on record as saying he supported Pol Pot.

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  4. Pull your head in BB or I’ll edit you out. It is a matter of public record that Keith did not support Pol Pot.

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  5. BB -

    currently, in the wake of bombings in Mumbai and civil unrest in Thailand, wouldn’t it be a good idea for UN Conventions on Human Rights to be a bit better understood, and their gains to the western world celebrated, rather than taking a head-in-the-sand approach, as you do?

    Don’t complain the next time you try to travel internationally, and local civil rights’ abuses, being ignored by the international commununity, see your plane grounded somewhere volatile, messy and explosive.

    It is all of us, together, that create peaceful conditions for the world to carry on our business in – by including those who are different to us, not by belittling, ignoring or putting them down.
    Skills being taught in primary schools, I might add, in order that the next generation of New Zealanders are more tolerant of diversity and capable of working with all of the intelligent, competent people in our society, whatever their ethnicity, occupational class, or religious belief.

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  6. can’t bring myself to talk about it Toad. As one of God’s defenceless creatures to another :-) it’s best I don’t.

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  7. Wouldint call toad defenceless; there are quite alot of pretty nasty toads out there! esspecially if your a small insect!

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  8. Katie

    “It is all of us, together, that create peaceful conditions for the world to carry on our business in – by including those who are different to us, not by belittling, ignoring or putting them down.
    Skills being taught in primary schools, I might add, in order that the next generation of New Zealanders are more tolerant of diversity and capable of working with all of the intelligent, competent people in our society, whatever their ethnicity, occupational class, or religious belief.”

    Are you always this breathtakingly naive?

    Islamofascists love people like you, while the west bend over backward to accommodate these “peace loving” people they are planning to blow each and every one of the non believers to kingdom come.
    I would love to hear you describe the Mumbai bombers or the 9/11 terrorists, are they simply misunderstood or (in the case of the 9/11) bombers justified because they attacked the USA?

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  9. true sapient, bufo are the classic ‘bite me and you’ll regret it’ amphibians, but it is harder for a sentient being to protect itself from misrepresentation of the kind trolls fling about when they have nothing of substance to say.

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  10. Frog, any chance of getting an ‘ignore this poster’ option on here? I enjoy reading some different points of view, but some trolls (like big bro) seem to be a complete waste of space and it would be good not to see their drivel when I’m reading the thread.

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  11. Actually, my impression of the Mumbai mob was that they were more into guns and ammo than bombs…. whatever…

    BB… the “war on terror” was a terrible idea when it was first proposed. It has not improved with time. The terrorists have done EXACTLY what we predicted they would do with it and as a means to increase their available recruitment pool it is unparalleled.

    You end terror by removing the root injustices that create anger and by removing the ignorance that allows fanaticism to flourish.

    You don’t end it by driving Predator drones over remote provinces and pasting the occasional farmhouse with a hellfire. Supposing someone decided that Catholics were a threat and started randomly removing from our national landscape without our permission, using such methods. Would you be more or less inspired to blow the next representative of the nation instigating that policy, to hell? Supposing you were a Catholic living ANYWHERE, same question?

    Bad policy, bad result, bad English. “War on Terror” – three strikes and it is out.

    As for the already too-far-gone-to-be-reached-by-justice, we have to deal up the justice. Guantanamo contains people who can’t be convicted of crimes. Iraq contained torture chambers long before we got there, but the fact that they remained in use after we (sort of) got control of the place is just another indictment.

    OTOH Katie… the Taliban isn’t exactly a “terror” organization. It is more like a revolutionary organization and it fields a reasonably large military arm. Sometimes they can’t be reasoned with at all. They may well not care for justice or equality. They ARE in it for absolute control and there is nothing for it but for the people on the ground to duke it out with them.

    Until every last one of the subset that is too fixated to learn peaceful resolutions is gone. I reckon that that is a smaller subset than BB thinks it is, but it is also a lot less rational and a lot more violent than you may be allowing for.

    That’s a two pronged approach. The answer is to remove the causes AND to protect people by bringing criminals to justice. Someone is a murderer. Call it that. Don’t do the summary execution, make it a trial, convict the bum and toss him in the slammer. No martyrdom. No virgins. No ongoing grievance at justice denied on the basis of religion or ethnicity. Everyone else gets an education and opportunities.

    Which will only work if there are about 2-3 billion fewer people on the planet overall.

    It isn’t simple. It is a social dead end street. No “right” answer is available anymore. Dubya and his dad, and Darth Cheney too those options away. Looking for least damaging wrong answers now.

    respectfully
    BJ

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  12. big bro Says:
    December 10th, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    > Islamofascists love people like you, while the west bend over backward to accommodate these “peace loving” people they are planning to blow each and every one of the non believers to kingdom come.

    I doubt it. islamofascists love people like George W Bush, because his invasion of Iraq did more to help them recruit new supporters than anything.

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  13. Roy – I am looking into various plugins for various chores on the site. I’ll add that to the list as it could prove very useful. I, unfortunately, kinda have to read them all regardless…

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  14. # toad Says:
    December 10th, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    > The Nelson ‘puppy incident’ greenfly???

    as far as I can tell, it is a baseless allegation against Big Bro, that was invented in response to him making baseless allegations against other people.

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  15. Item 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reads:
    (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

    Similarly Clause 18 of our own Bill of Rights Act 1990, says:
    18. Freedom of movement – Everyone lawfully in New Zealand has the right to freedom of movement and residence in New Zealand.

    The general principle of “freedom of movement” asserts that a citizen of a state, in which that citizen is present, generally has the right to leave that state, travel wherever the citizen is welcome, and, with proper documentation, return to that state at any time; and also (of equal or greater importance) to travel to, reside in, and/or work in, any part of the state the citizen wishes without interference from the state.

    However, since the recent amendments to the Local Government Act local councils are routinely preparing detailed “growth management plans” and detailed “Structure Plans” within them, through which the local inhabitants claim the right to dictate where future residents (migrants) may live or indeed define whole areas out of bounds to new settlers at all.
    These plans are supposedly legitimised by “extensive consultation” but of course the local “communities” and their councils, make absolutely no attempt to consult with those “new settlers” waiting in the wings, or indeed “waiting in the womb.” Most of those consulted are “closer to the tomb”

    Given that the LGA is based on consultation as the agent of moral and legal authority, where do these community groups and councils get the legal and moral authority to dictate where future migrants into their territory may and may not live?

    “Vision Rodney” declares “we will determine the future of our District”. But to paraphrase Tonto, “Who’s this we, White man?.”
    And “Planning Rodney” declares:

    “that all towns and villages will have defined boundaries and that development will be contained within these boundaries. There will not be a spill-over from built areas to rural areas, and a clear transition line from built to rural will be evident.”

    Count me out.
    And the strategies make declarations such as:

    The strategic approach [to bach settlements] will be to retain these as small attractive lifestyle settlements allowing either no or very limited residential expansion within strictly defined limits.

    So what happened to my human right to live in one of these back settlements if I so choose? Why have the existing settlers a right to keep me out?

    If future plans are subject to Regulatory Review then such documents may well be rejected on the grounds that they are contrary to our Bill of Rights.

    One can only hope and dream.

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  16. Do dream on Owen. By your interpretation of freedom of residence, my lack of income should be no barrier at all to me living where I want to, such as at your bach. Surely that is not what you really meant? Of course societies have not only the right, but the obligation to manage their growth and development. Your flawed interpretation is one of anarchy!

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  17. Owens talking on behalf of developers interests of course. They buy land cheap develop it and make a fat profit; not the sort of “closer to the tomb” types* who have their environment spoilt. If everyone benefited from the development then it would be a more just situation, but developers who are the “invisible elephants” at your local council rip the rest of the community off.

    *A Christchurch woman in her 90′s complained about a large wall which blocked her view of the Port Hills. The bloke who built the wall told The Press that it would increase the value of her property.

    I see National is going to allow developers to size private land (in some cases) :roll:

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  18. Tony Ellis and Co (Kieth Locke) campaign on behalf of prisoners human rights. Asian countries (Japan mainly) have tough prisons where a lack of “human rights” mean prisoners can be manhandled so that they have to sit looking straight ahead and march enthusiastically with hands swinging etc. There is no prisoner on prisoner violence and sentences are shorter. If this treatment of prisoners is linked to lower crime and fewer people in prison then it may be argued that the rights of the law abiding are more important than the law breaking (or that our rights outweigh theirs) .

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  19. Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand *
    Disclaimer:
    Not to be confused with the environmental movement.

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  20. Article 5.

    No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

    This means we have to treat prisoners with kid gloves. The tough regime in Japanese prison means 1. No prisoner on prisoner violence 2. Shorter sentences. 3 Safer communities.

    Article 25.

    (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

    (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
    ……………………….

    Even societies which are too stupid to see that over population reduces individual wealth and is a result of the cumulative action of individuals choices?

    (1)Even when populations increase faster than economic growth?

    (2)We are responsible for the 3rd, 4th & 5th child?
    ………………………………..

    The Greens* don’t necessarily agree with all of these rights eg:

    Should working people be free to migrate to any country that will accept their labour?

    [*Objectives may differ from those of the environmental movement.]

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  21. What about our human right to live as humans.

    “we’re small-group animals trying to live in ever more gigantic groups” Paul Erlich

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  22. the local inhabitants claim the right to dictate where future residents (migrants) may live or indeed define whole areas out of bounds

    whole areas are out of bound owen. i don’t want people pitching a tent in the middle of the road

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  23. Andrew,
    Sometimes it is better to remain silent and to let people think you are a fool than to speak and remove all possible doubt.

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  24. “Human Rights” are a total load of BS.

    If you belive in evolution, the only right humans have is to survive at the expense of other organisms.

    If you believe in God, forget about “human rights” – period.

    The basis of religion is that God decides who to save, and who to crush.

    Great example of human rights that is.

    Don’t ask me to spend my money giving someone else their “rights” – they will just use the concept to become lazy and to expect more from me than I should have to give.

    Which of course explains why a good deal of our youth are becoming so antisocial and feral.

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  25. you’ve never thought me a fool owen mcshane, but i guess that’s just your way of saying you don’t have any answer for the point i made

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  26. greengeek Says:
    December 11th, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    > “Human Rights” are a total load of BS.

    > If you belive in evolution, the only right humans have is to survive at the expense of other organisms.

    only if you believe that evolution should be a source of moral principles, and I see no reason why it should be.

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  27. only if you believe that evolution should be a source of moral principles, and I see no reason why it should be.

    If you see evolution as having nothing to do with morals, then surely you would agree that there is no such thing as human rights?

    Does Mugabe offer his people “rights”? No

    If there are not in fact any “rights”, why would we call them “rights” and pretend that they are “rights”??

    What the UN calls “rights” is nothing more than an idealistic wishlist.

    Robin Hood probably had a similar list he referred to before robbing from the rich.

    How many people in Africa are sitting on their starving chuffs, believing that someone will/should give them their rights? It would be better for them to realise that they have NO rights, and that if they want Mugabe and his cronies off their backs they will have to do it for themselves.

    The whole concept of “rights” is an opiate.

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  28. Evolution is important as a source of “human rights” and morals. On a societal basis it is extremely potent…. and social change is vastly quicker to act than species drift.

    A society which abandons “human rights” (and Zimbabwe is a fair example of such), suffers, fails to thrive and eventually vanishes. Most extreme cases tend to do so by mistaking their power over their own citizens for a more general power over everyone else. This leads to war.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Srebrenica_massacre

    The society fails to protect human rights and it falls foul of its neighbors and its citizenry. The Serbs suffered for their hubris.

    You might mistake this for simply the power of one ethnic group to bomb the cr@p out of the other but it doesn’t work so simply.

    Humans have a “learned” social order. Our social hard-wiring is for small groups and is not adapted to the larger. Any social entity larger than about 120 people would be dependent/reliant on learned rather than instinctive behavior patterns. However, larger groups are, if well managed, better able to survive than smaller ones. Social advantage goes to the larger group. Economic advantage goes to the larger group. Military advantage goes to the larger group.

    The ability to form a larger group depends on the learned behavior of respecting the rights of people in general. “Human” rights.

    Yugoslavia ceased to exist, it is not a fractious and less powerful entity on the world stage, Economically crippled and ALL components of its mutually antagonistic ethnic mix are harmed.

    Which rights are important human rights and which are inalienable and which are just-made-up-cause-they-sound-nice are subject to debate because evolution hasn’t had time to sort them out.

    That it IS something that evolution will sort out is pretty clear to me… and our lack of ability to resolve the issue may well mean that evolution sorts us out pretty quick-smart in the bargain.

    Rights however, in the context of Zimbabwe, are something that the Zimbabweans would probably understand better than this. Rights come FROM the government of the nation involved. Not from somewhere else, and they are not seized by the people who need them granted. What the people can seize is responsibility (power).

    Responsibility is not given, it is something you TAKE.

    Rights are “granted” by the people in power to the people who aren’t. The degree to which this is necessary for the functioning of an efficient larger society and the associated evolutionary survival advantage is what makes a right a “human” right. They really aren’t inalienable or absolute in the sense that the laws of physics are absolute.

    Failure to recognize them is a disadvantage. Granting rights that are not necessary is ALSO a disadvantage. Left and Right disagree about what is necessary.

    respectfully
    BJ

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  29. Great comments bj.

    I guess what I object to mostly is the impression that the word “rights” creates.

    I agree with you when you say “They really aren’t inalienable or absolute in the sense that the laws of physics are absolute.”

    As you’ve pointed out: “Rights are “granted” by the people in power to the people who aren’t”

    This sounds much more like “charity” to me. And I believe it should be received as such.

    Freedoms are not a right. They exist only if they are taken by force, or if, as you phrased it they are “”granted” by the people in power to the people who aren’t”

    It is time to replace the whole concept of rights with the concept of “desirable outcomes towards which we will COLLECTIVELY work” (yuk, that sounds horribly like communism)

    My wife (as a secondary teacher) comes home daily with stories of errant students consumed with a sense of their “rights” and knowing so little of the collective effort and responsibility required to make those “rights” a reality.

    I would bet a substantial proportion of our prison population have a concept of their own “rights” in the forefront of their minds too.

    In my view people only truly get control of their own lives, and progress to being good citizens when they discard the idea of their own “rights” as a standalone concept, and develop instead an awareness of the value and necessity of productive interaction with other humans: an activity that more often than not requires a big helping of self-subjugation.

    I love this comment too: “Our social hard-wiring is for small groups and is not adapted to the larger”

    Remarkably percipient comment. One which I believe explains so much of Maori history and conflict in this country. Ironic really when they tout their “whanau” concept as being so worthy.

    It seems to me that where their family boundary stops, so does their feeling for their fellow man. (apologies in advance to those who find my view offensive)

    Not that I am suggesting other races are much better, but there is certainly a greater acceptance of globalisation in cultures elsewhere around the world. (again, ironic given that such cultures tend to value the “nuclear” family as their hub)

    But, as you say, it is our hard-wiring that makes it so hard for us to have a global view. Presumably evolution made this necessary.

    That being the case, will it ever be possible to frame up a set of “rights” or “desirable outcomes” that find a global application? or will such a framework always be used (as I suspect) to enhance the benefits of whichever family/small group has the power to access and control it?

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