State abuse inquiry pleas go before United Nations

  • 16/08/2017
Last month abuse survivors delivered a petition to parliament supporting an inquiry.
Last month abuse survivors delivered a petition to parliament supporting an inquiry. Photo credit: Getty

Pleas for an inquiry into abuse in state care in New Zealand have reached the United Nations.

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy has asked a UN committee to urge the Government to initiate an inquiry into the physical and sexual abuse of children and disabled people held in state institutions.

"Last month I stood alongside abuse survivors at the steps of their Parliament and it was one of the most heart-breaking things I've ever done. As children they suffered years of abuse at the hands of their own government and there they were asking for justice," Dame Susan said.

Earlier in the year, Prime Minister Bill English said an inquiry is not needed into the abuse of children in state care because victims have already come forward.

The Government's focus was instead on improving how it looks after children currently in care so that past abuses are never repeated.

The majority of children that were taken into state care were Maori, Dame Susan said, and the refusal by successive Governments to investigate is "not only wrong, it is immoral".

"This is not my New Zealand and I urged the UN to tell our Government to do the right thing."

NZN

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