Human Rights


Human Rights
UI Systems



Human Rights



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


Human rights violations have been identified as the principle source for the threats to Global Sustainability. This page also covers the following:


The case for international human Rights laws superceding national statute laws


Governments are the primary violators of human rights and therefore global sustainability





Human Rights
Supersede Statute Laws

(Researched 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)

“Work for the dole” was initiated under “urgency through all stages”. For additional information on the process read, Alliance MP, Rod Donald's report at The Alliance Web site.

  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, 

“Certain rights, therefore, may never be suspended or limited, even in emergency situations. These [include] the rights to life …[and] freedom from enslavement or servitude….”  

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,

 “…the national law of the State may not be relied on as a justification for failure to perform its obligations under an international treaty.” 

Under the Bangalore Principles, principles no. 7-9, 

“It is within the proper nature of the judicial process and well-established judicial functions for national courts to have regard to international obligations which a country undertakes whether or not they have been incorporated into domestic law… However, where national law is clear and inconsistent with the international obligations of the Sate concerned, in ‘common law’ countries the national court is obliged to give effect to national law.  In such cases the court should draw such inconsistencies to the attention of the appropriate authorities since the supremacy of national law in no way mitigates a breach of an international legal obligation which is undertaken by a country. …It is essential to redress a situation where, by reason of traditional dimension, judges and practicing lawyers are often unaware of the remarkable and comprehensive developments of statements of international human rights norms.”  

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)

“that it is during the times of public emergency that fundamental rights are most at risk and when courts must be vigilant in their protection…. In democratic societies fundamental human rights are more than just paper aspirations. They form part of the law. In a society ruled by law… all branches of government—the legislature and the executive, as well as the judiciary itself… must act in accordance with the law”.

The World Conference on Human Rights held in Vienna in 1993, acknowledged that 

"three quarters of the violators of human rights guaranteed in international documents are the State Parties themselves".  

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.

1.       Ankers v Attorney-General. [1995] NZFLR 193

2.       Elika v Minister of Immigration [1996]1 NZLR 741

3.       Simpson v Attornery-General (Baigent’s Case) [1994] 3 NZLR 677

4.       Noort [1992] 3 NZLR 260 “In approaching the Bill of Rights Act it must be of cardinal importance to bear in mind the antecedents.  The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights speaks of inalienable rights derived from the inherent dignity of the human person.  Internationally there is now general recognition that some human rights are fundamental and anterior to any municipal law…”(see Mabo v Queensland (1988) 166 CLR 186, 217-218) Source:  Human Rights Law From Domestic and International Sources, Auckland District Law Society, F Joychild and M Roche, 13 February 1997.

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.