UN committee condemns 'Wogistan' comments

By Kate Shuttleworth

Richard Prosser. Photo / Mark MItchell
Richard Prosser. Photo / Mark MItchell

The Government will seriously consider a United Nations condemnation of NZ First MP Richard Prosser's anti-Muslim comments, Justice and Ethnic Affairs Minister Judith Collins says.

The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination issued a report on New Zealand's progress at tackling racial discrimination and inequality.

It found Mr Prosser's comments were "inflammatory'', and urged the New Zealand Government to intensify its efforts to promote ethnic harmony and find a way to combat existing stereotypes and prejudices against certain ethnic and religious groups.

Mr Prosser said in an Investigate magazine column that young Muslim mean from "Wogistan'' should be banned from flying on western airlines and he described Islam as being "a stone age religion''. The comments were found to be counter-productive to New Zealand's efforts to reduce racial discrimination.

Ms Collins represented the New Zealand Government at a two-day UN committee meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, on 21 and 22 February.

"I am very pleased to say that during the review, the Committee noted New Zealand's efforts to combat racial discrimination represented many examples of best practice globally and that these would be recommended to other countries.''

She said the committee observed New Zealand was addressing the drivers of crime, introducing the youth employment package, the alcohol and other drug courts and the New Zealand police ethnic strategy, aimed at improving ethnic relations and raising multi-cultural awareness.

"As an active player in the UN system, we are committed to meeting our obligations under the human rights treaties we are party to,'' said Ms Collins.

The committee also noted it regretted the Treaty of Waitangi is not a formal part of domestic law, even though the Government considers is a founding document of New Zealand.

"The committee recommends that the state party consider adopting the recommendations by the special rapporteur on indigenous peoples that any departure from the decisions of the Waitangi Tribunal be accompanied by a written justification by the government''.

A constitutional review panel is set to consider whether the Treaty should be entrenched in law.

- NZ Herald

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