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Amnesty report looks at NZ human rights

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 22/02/2017

The high number of Maori in prison, child poverty and domestic violence in New Zealand have been highlighted by Amnesty International.

The organisation has released its annual report on The State of the World's Human Rights, which analyses the situation in 159 countries.

In the section on New Zealand, the report says the rate of Maori representation among those facing the criminal justice system remains disproportionately high.

It points to the finding that nearly a third of New Zealand children are living below the poverty line.

It says violence against women and girls remains high, despite wide recognition of the problem and efforts to address it.

It also notes that the government has "marginally increased" the annual refugee quota from 750 to 1000 by 2018.

Amnesty International NZ executive director Grant Bayldon says the increase is a step in the right direction, but New Zealand could have done more given the scale of the crisis.

"Amnesty International also welcomed New Zealand's renewed offer to accept 150 refugees from Australia's offshore detention centres on Nauru and Manus," he said.

"However the government's failure to speak out about Australia's cruel and inhumane offshore detention policy remains a huge disappointment."

Globally, the report drew attention to politicians wielding "a toxic, dehumanising 'us v them' rhetoric", creating a more divided and dangerous world.

"Fear-mongering is becoming the norm," Mr Bayldon said.

"Today's politics of demonisation is selling a dangerous idea that some people are less human than others, leaving refugees and other vulnerable groups to suffer the consequences."

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