UN concerned over children’s rights in NZ

NZ Herald Jan 20, 2011
The United Nations has expressed concern over shortfalls in the rights of New Zealand children, including “staggering” infant and child mortality rates and a lack representation for children in legislation. It has questioned why New Zealand does not have a department or ministry responsible for children’s issues. The UN committee on the rights of the child has been meeting with Government representatives in Geneva to examine our performance on child rights. The committee found that while the majority of children were living well and in a safe and protective environment where their rights were respected, there were areas where improvements were needed, including areas of serious concern. The committee noted that, although many laws had been passed, children were “fairly invisible” in legislation and regretted that the age of criminality had been lowered for some cases. Committee member Maria Herczog said child rights-based policy did not exist as there was no specific department or ministry responsible for issues related to children. …The committee commended the government’s anti-smacking legislation, but was concerned that it did not explicitly prohibit all forms of corporal punishment.