Position Papers

Position Papers

                Introduction

Human trafficking is prevalent in New Zealand as well as other developed nations. The trafficking of young girls and women in New Zealand is particularly rampant because prostitution is legal in New Zealand. The well thought through plan of legalizing prostitution has turned out be a loop hole for illegal migrants seeking to make a quick dollar. The recognition of this fact has made many people to venture into New Zealand in search of room to establish brothels and their pimping activities. This paper reviews measures taken in New Zealand as well as the whole globe in combating human trafficking, which is mostly associated with prostitution. This is important for New Zealand because there is a need to stand up for the rights of those affected by such illegal activities. Another core issue covered is the escalation of the Syrian conflict.

Syrians took to the streets on December 2010, with the aim of calling for regime change as witnessed in other nations, which were swept by the Arab Spring. While in this pursuit the nation was thrown in to a civil war that still ravages the nation. The worst turn of events has also happened with the use of chemical weapons on civilians. President Assad still holds on to power with no sign of relinquishing his authority. Millions are dying and with the lack of basic commodities. It is due to this sad reality that New Zealanders have decided to make steps that could help in alleviating the problem. This paper reviews some of the steps taken in the past, the current and the future of nation.

I Prevention of Trafficking In Women and Girls in New Zealand

Human trafficking is akin to modern slavery because it breaches the right to freedom, liberty, and human dignity. New Zealanders are strongly against human trafficking and other related vices. This is evidenced by our support for international protocols aimed at curbing the vice. Additionally, we have developed legislative action plans aimed at curbing the vice. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), there are approximately 12.3 million people trafficked at a given time (UNODC, 2013). The Global Report on Trafficking by UNODC shows that 79% of the trafficked persons are trafficked for sexual exploitation, and are predominantly girls and women (UNODC, 2013). As a nation that promotes gender equality, such gender-skewed breach of human rights in worrying (UNODC, 2013). Human trafficking in the Asia-Pacific region to which we belong as a nation is approximately at a ratio of 3 for every 1000 inhabitants. This is slightly higher than the global ratio of 1.8: 1000, and as such we are committed as nation to reduce this vice in our region (Glazebrook, n.d).

On 14th December 2000, we signed the Trafficking Protocol, and later ratified the same protocol on 19th July 2002 (Glazebrook, n.d). The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons was a United Nations’ (UN) initiative intended to fight human trafficking (Glazebrook, n.d). In order to localize the context of the fight against trafficking, we also adopted  a 2013 Working against Trafficking resolution (2013, No. 5 (IFUW, 2013).The protocol was intended to supplement the UN’s Convention against Transnational Organized Crime created in 2000-to which we are also a signatory nation. The signing and ratification of these UN protocols is a clear indicator of our dedication and support towards fighting the trafficking of young girls and women in not only New Zealand, but also across the globe. In addition to these protocols we also support other international conventions aimed at the fighting the same vice. These include the Convention against Transnational Crime and Protocol against Smuggling of Migrants by Air, Sea and Land (Glazebrook, n.d). Our support for these protocols and conventions adds to our effort and socio-political contribution in fighting the trafficking of women and girls. In addition to the protocols our nation has also adopted the Trafficking of Women and Children resolution numbered (1998, No. 6 (IFUW, 2013). This resolution was adopted in 1998, at the Austrian Conference.

 

Our development of further action plans that relate to trafficking materialized in 2009 through the creation of the “Plan of Action to Prevent People Trafficking,” which was pioneered by New Zealand’s Department of Labor on behalf of an interagency group that had been designated to seek solutions to the problem (Glazebrook, n.d). This plan got approved by our government in October 2001. This plan outlines the measures, details and programs that various government agencies engage in to prevent trafficking. Our New Zealand Human Rights Commission has also established safe house programs to facilitate the protection and consequent repatriation of vulnerable women and girls that are victims of trafficking (Glazebrook, n.d). In order to further the course of preventing trafficking we have also adopted resolution number (2010, No. 5) from the 2010 Mexican conference (IFUW, 2013).  This resolution (Human Trafficking Violates Human Rights (2010, No. 5) recognizes the possible breaches of human rights (IFUW, 2013). Other standards we support include the UN General Assembly’s resolution on Trafficking in Girls and Women

 

In recognition of the essence of furthering continuous support to entities fighting trafficking of women and girls, we will continue supporting any future adoption of non-binding international standards, which can offer guidance in the fight against trafficking.  Our nation is always open to the idea of supporting all future non-binding international standards that may be put in place in the future so as to support the war against trafficking. In the same spirit, our Human Rights Commission is always forging collaboration with other organizations in seeking to fight the vice (Glazebrook, n.d). Our nation will continue seeking partnership with any organization, which seeks to support the war against the crime of trafficking. Concerns of demand and supply, especially; in the prostitution industry, which trend along sporting events such as Rugby is also a future concern for our police as they try to seek a solution towards events that further acts of prostitution, which enhance trafficking (Glazebrook, n.d). As such, our police will always continue closely monitoring such events and the possible correlation they may have on trafficking so as to develop future solutions for the problem along these lines.

 

 

II New Zealand’s Position on the Syrian Conflict

               

The Arab spring that spread a wave of civil uprisings in the North Africa and parts of the Middle East reached Syria in December 2010. The initially peaceful demonstrations became violent as law enforcers clashed with protestors. The rise in casualties further escalated to a level where the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) declared the conflict a civil war by July 2012. In an earlier response to the escalation our parliament, which represents the government of New Zealand’s resolve unanimously passed the resolution that condemned the shooting of peaceful protestors (New Zealand Parliament, 2013). In the resolution we urged the Syrian authorities to consider engaging in dialogue with an aim of facilitating a democratic transition, which is still imminent. Our position has been that there is a need for regime change, but this has to be conducted in a democratic space where dialogue is given room. This is in accordance to the Peaceful Resolution of Political Conflict (1994, No.6)-a resolution reached at the Geneva Council in Switzerland (IFUW, 2013). This became even more pressing as the Syrian government was accused of violating human rights, while Islamic extremism found root (TV New Zealand, 2013).

In the recent past, the United States has made allegations that the Syrian regime had used chemical weapons against civilians in residential areas within the outskirts of Damascus. We have condemned the wanton killing of civilians by use of chemical weapons, and called for the application of International humanitarian law to protect human rights (TV New Zealand, 2013). The declaration of the situation as a civil war calls for application of Geneva Conventions under international humanitarian law. The protection of human rights as stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has failed in the Syrian state. Similarly, there is failure in the protection of children as stipulated in the Declaration of the Rights of the Child as children in the conflict zones undergo a lot of suffering (Save the Children New Zealand, 2013). According to the resolution on Protection of Women and Children in War Zones through unarmed Civilian Peacekeeping (UCP 2013, No. 1), there is a compelling need for other nations to intervene (IFUW, 2013). This resolution was reached at during a summit in Istanbul. This resolution is part the reason that we support limited military intervention to vulnerable women and children.  We are signatory to these declarations and we recognize their importance in the protection of fundamental human rights of access to basic needs and freedoms of speech as well as protection from cruelty. As a nation we recognize these conventions, which have also be codified into law as the International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the International Covenant on Political and Civil Rights (UN Human Rights, 1996). All these have been codified into international laws of which both New Zealand and Syria are signatories. As such, we have called for the intervention of the International Criminal Court in violation of human rights by both the Syrian regime and the opposition groups. We also support the UN’s push for the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) initiative that recognizes sovereignty as responsibility rather than a right. As such, international bodies and other nations may get permission to seek military intervention for the sake of saving the Syrian people (Chapter 7 of the UN resolution).  Chapter 7 of the UN resolution gives nations mandate to intervene, but first there is a need for ratification from the UN Security Council. Under the premise of this recognition there is a need for international intervention even if it may be against the sovereignty Syria. This is necessary because the welfare of Syrian people is threatened (TV New Zealand, 2013). Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter highlights threats to international peace as a good reason to make limited attacks on the Syrian regime so as to neutralize the threat posed by chemical weapons. While this is ongoing, our nation has committed a further $2.6 million dollars to assist those affected in the Syrian crisis through the provision of humanitarian aid (Backhouse, 2013).  Part of these funds will go to humanitarian relief whereas $604000 will be given to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). This brings our current overall contribution to $7.46 million (Backhouse, 2013).

 

 

 

In recognition of these necessary interventions, our nation will in the future continue supporting US’s proposal for limited military intervention even against the UN resolution for the sake of preventing further possible use of chemical weapons or their possible transfer to more dangerous hands (New Zealand Parliament, 2013). However, we agree and continue supporting Ban Ki-Moons position, that there will be no action till there is conclusive investigation from UN’s weapons inspection team. The report from the inspectors will be the crucial factor in determining the future possibility of intervention. In the meantime our government will continue supporting the adoption of a consultative approach in reaching out to the permanent members of UN with a view of expressing our stand and way forward (New Zealand Parliament, 2013). This is in accordance to the Peaceful Resolution of Political Conflict (1994, No.6)-a resolution reached at the Geneva Council in Switzerland (IFUW, 2013). The aim of this resolution is to avert more losses in life and property by giving negotiations a chance.  Our nation also pledges the future provision of humanitarian support as the world continues to seek a solution for the Syrian crisis. We also condemn an y possible, future use of chemical weapons against the civilian population.

 

References

Backhouse, M. (2013). New Zealand commits $2.6m more to Syria, Volume: 693; Page: 13101. Retrieved from http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11131570

Glazebrook, S. J. (n.d).Human trafficking in New Zealand. Retrieved from http://www.courtsofnz.govt.nz/speechpapers/NZ%20trafficking%20Paper%20-%20final%20-%203%20Feb.pdf

International Federation of University Women (IFUW) (2013). Index of Resolutions by Year. Retrieved from http://www.ifuw.org/what/advocacy/resolutions/year/

New Zealand Parliament (2013). Syria, Internal Conflict—Use of Chemical Weapons. Retrieved from http://www.parliament.nz/mi-nz/pb/business/qoa/50HansQ_20130829_00000002/2-syria-internal-conflict%E2%80%94use-of-chemical-weapons

Save the Children New Zealand (2013). Syria crisis. Retrieved from http://www.savethechildren.org.nz/see/emergencies/syria-crisis/

TV New Zealand (2013). Key praises UN Security Council resolution on Syrian crisis. Retrieved from http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/key-praises-un-security-council-resolution-syrian-crisis-5592494

UN Human Rights (1996). International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Retrieved from http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CESCR.aspx

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) (2013). UNODC report on human trafficking exposes modern form of slavery. Retrieved from https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/human-trafficking/global-report-on-trafficking-in-persons.html

US State Department (2013). Trafficking in Persons Report 2013: New Zealand. Retrieved from http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1306/S00510/trafficking-in-persons-report-2013-new-zealand.htm

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