New Zealand calls for community peace

August 8, 2014 by J-Wire Staff
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The Human Rights Commission is backing a call from local religious communities for New Zealanders to stand alongside them in peace and compassion: and not in hatred.

Steohen Goodman

Steohen Goodman

“Kiwi interfaith leaders are standing united in their call for New Zealanders to treat one another with respect. The Human Rights Commission is proud to stand alongside them in peace and compassion,” said Chief Human Rights Commissioner David Rutherford.

“We mourn the tragic, heartbreaking loss of all lives in the conflict in Gaza and Israel: but we must honour their lives by standing up for peace at all costs. We do not honour their lives by bringing violent, hatred into New Zealand.”

The statement from New Zealand’s religious leaders followed recent reports of hate attacks on Jewish people and communities. The Human Rights Commission condemned the attacks. Since a historic statement in 2007, faith and interfaith leaders and the Commission have affirmed that all religious groups in New Zealand have the right to safety and security. Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy recalled attacks on Islamic New Zealanders following terrorist attacks on the United States in 2001.

“If Kiwis want peace overseas then we need to start by behaving like people who want peace and that’s right here in New Zealand. Peace and human rights begins at home,” said Dame Susan.

“Everyday people are ultimately responsible for race relations in our country: this is where we need to step up and show leadership and understanding.”

Mr Rutherford said while the UN recognises New Zealand has a high realisation of human rights in our country: it’s a reputation we are all responsible for.

“While we defend the rights of New Zealanders to protest – we also defend the rights of New Zealanders to be free from fear and to be free to practise their religious faith,” said Mr Rutherford.

It is the role of the New Zealand Human Rights Commission to promote and protect human rights in New Zealand. It is the role of the Government to protect human rights in New Zealand and to hold other states to the human rights commitments they have made.

The New Zealand Jewish Council met with Dame Susan Devoyand David Rutherford, Human Rights Commissioner.

President Stephen Goodman told J-Wire: “We expressed our concern about the rising tide of anti-Semitic incidents worldwide.  The major worry is that this is finding credibility in New Zealand in the guise of criticism of Israel.  We have seen this happen it the past and feel that this has no place in our country.  Both Susan and David supported this view that world events should not impinge on the rights of New Zealand Citizens to live their lives free from threats and discrimination. “

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