The HRF has been awarded the inaugural NZ Law Foundation Shadow Report Award on 29 November 2012.

New Zealand has been an active supporter of human rights legal development internationally, and the Law Foundation has often backed work in this area. Earlier this year the Law Foundation launched a new human rights award – the New Zealand Law Foundation Shadow Report Award, supporting people or organisations preparing shadow reports for presentation at United Nations monitoring bodies.

At the Law Foundation’s Annual Awards dinner, hosted by Justice Minister Judith Collins at Parliament’s Grand Hall on 29 November, Chair of the Law Foundation, Mr Warwick Deuchrass announced that the inaugural award has been won by the Human Rights Foundation of Aotearoa New Zealand.
Valued at $10,000 annually, the Law Foundation’s newest award is available to help human rights advocates report on New Zealand’s compliance with its international treaty obligations, and is available each year to a non-government organisation or individual interested in Human Rights issues.

Mr Deuchrass says the Foundation knows that shadow report preparation takes considerable time and effort, and this may be preventing NGOs from doing these reports. “We are providing this award because we believe shadow reporting is a valuable contributor to the treaty monitoring process,” he said.

The Human Rights Foundation of Aotearoa New Zealand will use the award to research and report on key human rights/legal issues to CAT, CERD, HRC, CESCR and UPR.

Human Rights Foundation Chair Peter Hosking says the award will be of great assistance to the HRF’s reports to United Nations Treaty Bodies. “It will enable us to provide more in-depth reports to a wider range of UN organisations,” he said. The Law Foundation grant has enabled the HRF to appoint a part-time co-ordinator, Stéphanie Bürgenmeier, to assist with researching and preparing reports to UN treaty bodies and the UPR.

UN Treaty to regulate the international trade in conventional arms

The UN General Assembly has adopted a treaty to regulate the international trade in conventional arms. It prohibits the sale of arms if there is a risk that the weapons could be used to commit or facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian or human rights law.

The treaty applies to all conventional arms within the following categories: battle tanks, armoured combat vehicles, large-calibre artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles and missile launchers, and small arms and light weapons, according to the draft text.

Armed violence kills more than half a million people each year, including 66,000 women and girls. In addition, between 2000 and 2010, almost 800 humanitarian workers were killed in armed attacks and another 689 injured.

United Nations Economic, Social and Cultural Rights committee issues

United Nations Economic, Social and Cultural Rights committee issues concluding observations
on New Zealand Government’s report – 22 May 2012

The UN ESCR Committee has both positive and negative comments about New Zealand’s performance in its latest observations on New Zealand’s performance
under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Under this international treaty, New Zealand has agreed to a range of obligations
relating to economic, social and cultural rights.
The UN Committee has flagged concerns constitutional issues, social welfare reform, housing rights, the rights of people with disabilities and workers. It also recommends
a human rights based approach to the reconstruction of Christchurch. View the full report here
The HRF, working with the Equal Justice Project, made a submission to the ESCR Committee which you can view here. A number of the issues raised by the HRF are reflected in the recommendations of the
UN Committee.