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Push for investigation into state abuse reaches United Nations

16 August 2017

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy has asked the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to urge the New Zealand government to open an inquiry into the physical and sexual abuse of children and disabled people held in state institutions.

A Human Rights Commission news release says Dame Susan is in Geneva representing the Commission before the UN Committee, which is monitoring whether New Zealand complies with the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination.

"The refusal by successive governments to investigate is not only wrong, it is immoral," she says.

“We know that of the children who were taken, the overwhelming majority were Maori: upwards of 80 and sometimes 100% in various children’s homes. These state homes were the beginning of the mass incarceration of Maori New Zealanders in our state institutions. And it is still going on ... This is not my New Zealand and I urged the UN to tell our Government to do the right thing.

"A nation's identity is not just about a flag or an anthem. A nation's identity is about who we are as a people, how we treat each other and importantly, how our State treats us."

Last updated on the 16th September 2019