Alex Conte I. Introduction



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INTERNATIONAL REFLECTIONS ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS IN NEW ZEALAND

Alex Conte*

I. Introduction


Thirty years after the coming into force of the Race Relations Act 1971 (New Zealand's first piece of specific human rights legislation) the United Nations Human Rights Committee has issued its concluding observations on New Zealand's latest report to the Committee and, in doing so, has assessed the state of civil and political rights in New Zealand.1 The Committee has, overall, reacted in a very positive way, commenting that the various measures adopted and laws enacted by New Zealand were most impressive and bore testimony to this country's commitment to attain the highest standard in the achievement of human rights.2 This article reviews various aspects of New Zealand's Fourth Periodic Report to the Human Rights Committee,3 together with the Committee's questions and comments, and considers the extent to which (and whether or not) human rights protection within New Zealand is, as suggested, impressive.4 The potential scope for such a review is enormous and this article limits itself to issues raised by the Committee in response to the earlier Third Periodic Report,5 thereby assessing whether, and to what extent, improvements have been made by New Zealand.6



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