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Government and NGO interim CEDAW reports set out work to be done

November 20, 2020 at 12:22 PM

From the NZFVC

The New Zealand government and non-government organisations (NGOs) have submitted follow-up information to the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

The New Zealand government is required to report to the Committee every four years on New Zealand's progress implementing the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). At that time, NGOs are also invited to submit reports, known as shadow or alternate reports.

The last reporting cycle was completed in 2018. At the end of the process, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women published Concluding Observations on New Zealand's 8th CEDAW report. The Committee requested the NZ government provide, within two years, written information on the steps taken to implement several of the recommendations on key concerns from its Concluding Observations (CEDAW/C/NZL/CO/8, see paragraph 55), instead of waiting the usual four years.

Specifically, the Committee asked the government to report on the recommendations in paragraphs 20, 26 (a), 40 (a) and 48 (a). These are:

20. "The Committee reiterates its recommendation (CEDAW/C/NZL/CO/7, para. 16 (c)) that the State party provide the New Zealand Human Rights Commission with sufficient human, technical and financial resources to carry out its mandate to promote and protect women’s rights. It further recommends that the State party repeal section 392 of the Immigration Act 2009 with a view to ensuring that the Commission is mandated to receive and process complaints from migrants, in line with the recommendations issued in 2016 by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions."

26 (a). "Adopt a comprehensive and cross-party on combating gender-based violence against women in accordance with general recommendation No. 35 and ensure its consistent implementation, including by strictly applying the provisions of the bill on family and Whanau violence legislation, once adopted, and by, inter alia, including measures that specifically protect women with disabilities who are victims of abusive caregivers;"

40 (a). "Remove abortion from the Crimes Act 1961 and amend the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act 1977 in order to fully decriminalize abortion and incorporate the treatment of abortion into health services legislation;"

48 (a). "Establish a royal commission of inquiry with an independent mandate to engage in wide-ranging evaluation of the drawbacks for women, the obstruction of justice for women and the hindrances to their safety inherent in the family court system and to recommend the legislative and structural changes necessary to make the family courts safe and just for women and children, in particular in situations of domestic violence;"

In August 2020, the Government published follow up information to CEDAW responding to this request.

Several non-government organisations have provided shadow or alternate reports, including the National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges (NCIWR), the Backbone Collective, the Coalition for the Safety of Women and Children, the Disabled Women's Forum and Pacific Women’s Watch (New Zealand).

The NGO reports commend some government actions taken to address family violence, such as domestic and family violence legislation (for example, Domestic Violence (Victims’ Protection) Act 2018 and Family Violence Act 2018), a new funding model for service providers, and funding and engagement to enable service providers to rapidly respond to family violence during COVID-19.

However, the NGO reports also highlight a number of areas where the government has failed to address the CEDAW recommendations.

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Category: Government