Table Of Contents
(See footnotes on UI systems page for an outline of relevant human rights laws justifying universal income systems. See poverty page for human rights issues at risk by current practices.)
Click coloured bullets next to topics to see sub headings and access hyperlinks
and Prepared by Patrick Danahey M.Ed. on behalf of C.E.R.E.S.)
This article provides legal proofs of individual rights (as specified under international conventions) taking precedence over statute laws of countries that have ratified the International Bill of Human Rights (1). This includes, as of 1993, common law countries such as Aotearoa NZ. Many government agencies as well as the judiciary are still unaware of these recent law changes (E.g. See the 1998 law changes to the Social Security Act in NZ which have sanctioned the implementation of compulsory labour programmes). It is up to individuals and groups to see to it that we educate our lawyers and government agencies about these changes.
Note Nov. 2003
[This article was written during the Work for the Dole era in NZ: 1998. Hence, the justification for the use of those examples and focus. The examples are still relevant in that almost all the current parties in NZ are still pushing for some form of this programme. Further the new Jobs Jolt programme, 2003, is also a form of compulsory labour programme (See poverty page for more information on these topics)].
NZ Statute Laws do not supersede basic universally recognised rights even in emergency situations (See below)
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Report, Fact Sheet No. 2, (Rev.1), the International Bill of Human Rights, pages 6-7,
The Auckland District Law Society’s report Human Rights Law from Domestic and International Sources, Section 5.37, states that under Article 27 of the Vienna Convention of Treaties,
Under the Bangalore Principles, principles no. 7-9,
The Bangalore Principles have been reaffirmed by the 1993 High Level Judicial Colloquium in Bloemfontein, South Africa. New Zealand was represented by Rt Hon Sir Robin Cooke, KBE, President of the Court of Appeal. Further, in the Bloemfontein statement, it was stated (2)
The World Conference on Human Rights held in Vienna in 1993, acknowledged that
The NZ government has implemented a compulsory labour regime as a solution to an economic/unemployment crisis that has been created by it's own policies. (Prior to the implementation of a heavily privatised and deregulated national economy, NZ enjoyed a state of full-employment with one the best social welfare systems in the world.) In the process it has greatly undermined fundamental human rights and international laws in its adoption of this programme through the recent systematic modifications of the Social Security Act 1964 culminating in the Proposal of Bill No.5.
In 1978 the Prime Minister of NZ, in his speech to ratify the two Human Rights Covenants said (3),
“We have regarded the two international covenants as legal documents of substantial value and importance…” “human rights has had a central place in our traditions… We have now completed a comprehensive review of our legislation and are satisfied that our laws are in compliance with the requirements of the two international covenants.”
The NZ Bill of Rights as well as the NZ Human Rights Act of 1993, both refer to these covenants in their introduction as the basis of their existence.
The New Zealand Courts have also upheld international human rights laws.
At present the
NZ Human Rights Act, due to government exemptions and its limited scope,
does not cover the unemployed against most of the government abuses that
would be of most concern.
People must therefore rely on International rights instruments.
For additional information on the social, economic, and political abuses as well as the legal violations of NZ's "Work for the Dole" schemes see the following:
Submission by the NZ Trade Union Federation
Submission by UUI Action NZ
1. The International Bill of Human Rights comprises the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the optional protocols of ICCPR.
2. F Joychild and M Roche, Human Rights Law from Domestic and International Sources, Auckland District Law Society, 13 February 1997.