Amnesty praises NZ over refugee quota lift

  • 23/02/2018
The allegations made in Nicky Hager's book Hit and Run were not properly investigated
The allegations made in Nicky Hager's book Hit and Run were not properly investigated

New Zealand has taken some "positive steps" towards improving human rights with increasing the refugee quota, but the country wasn't exempt from criticism in a new Amnesty International report.

The State of the World's Human Rights report was launched by Amnesty on Thursday and focuses on human rights in 159 countries.

New Zealand received praise for its increase of the refugee quota to 1500 by the year 2020 and its Community Sponsorship programme that allows community groups to sponsor refugees as an alternative to admission into the country.

"This is a prime example of people power - local people coming together to build local communities that welcome refugees," Amnesty New Zealand's acting executive director Meg de Ronde says.

However, the country faced criticism over its failure to launch an inquiry into allegations that the New Zealand Defence Force committed war crimes during a 2010 raid in Afghanistan.

The allegations were made in a book by investigative journalist Nicky Hager called Hit and Run.

Ms de Ronde did welcome Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's announcement that an investigation would be made into the claims.

"In 2017, we called for an independent inquiry into the allegations made in Hit and Run so the proposed investigation is a first step towards finding out exactly what happened during that raid and ensuring justice for the victims and survivors."

Other areas the country's human rights record was criticised was the health and wellbeing of children in the country, insufficient mental health services, poor conditions in detention facilities and the disproportionate number of Māori in the criminal justice system.