Amnesty International New Zealand
|Founded||1965, New Zealand|
|Headquarters||Auckland, New Zealand|
|Grant Bayldon, Peter Fa'afiu|
|Products||Lobbying, research, consultancy.|
Amnesty International New Zealand is a part of the Amnesty International network, an international nonprofit organisation working to end human rights abuses. It is one of over 80 nationally organised sections of the global Amnesty movement.
The first New Zealand Amnesty group was founded in 1965, and the organisation was incorporated in 1966. Since being founded, the organisation has worked to free prisoners of conscience, fight human rights violations around the world, and promote human rights in New Zealand through lobbying and education. It works to achieve human rights for everyone as defined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international standards for human rights. It now has 14,000 members.
Amnesty International New Zealand acts primarily with a focus on rights within the Asia-Pacific region, and is secretariat for the Association of Commonwealth Amnesty International Sections. It is a consulting member of the Council for International Development and part of the Human Rights Network of Aotearoa New Zealand.
Amnesty International New Zealand is financially independent from all governments and corporations, funded entirely by individual supporters. It is led at the national level by the Governance Team; members are elected by members at the Annual General Meeting and help set out policy and strategic goals that guide operations.
Its current chair is Tiumalu Peter Fa'afiu, the first Chair of Pacific Island descent in the international movement's 52-year history. Peter's human rights background comes from his 8 years as a diplomat with the New Zealand Foreign Ministry including four years in Indonesia.
The office is located in Auckland, and run by Executive Director Grant Bayldon. The office comprises a campaigning team, fundraising team, and general operations team, with both paid and volunteer staff.
Current priority campaigns include Crisis Response, Stop Torture, and Individuals at Risk. Amnesty International New Zealand also works to end human rights violations in the Asia-Pacific region and promote human rights awareness in New Zealand.
Individuals at Risk
When individuals suffer grave human rights abuses, Amnesty International New Zealand takes action for their support. Recent successes include the release of Meriam Ibrahim, condemned to death in Sudan for apostasy; Nasrin Sotoudeh, an imprisoned Iranian human rights lawyer; and a reduced sentence for Dr Tun Aung, an imprisoned community leader in Myanmar.
Refugees and Asylum Seekers
Amnesty International campaigns to ensure the rights of refugees and asylum seekers are protected by working to prevent human rights violations that cause people to flee their homes. At the same time, it opposes the forcible return of any individual to a country where he or she faces serious human rights violations.
One such case is of former Islamic Salvation Front member Ahmed Zaoui, who was seeking asylum in New Zealand. Amnesty International didn't take a position on whether Ahmed Zaoui is guilty of the charges laid against him, but argued that he had not received fair criminal trials in Algeria, Belgium, or France, and that Switzerland's rejection of his refugee claim and subsequent deportation to Burkina Faso was improper. Zaoui was bailed in 2004 and the New Zealand government withdrew objections to his refugee status in 2007.
With no official Amnesty presence in the Pacific, Amnesty International New Zealand has a unique responsibility to protect human rights in the region. It campaigns to end violence against women in countries like Papua New Guinea with extremely high rates of sexual and gender-based violence, and works to protect freedom of expression in countries like Fiji.
Amnesty International strongly supports the creation of a United Nations treaty to control small arms. Amnesty International New Zealand gathered over 12,000 faces in a photo-petition it handed in to the New Zealand Government. Minister for Disarmament Phil Goff declared New Zealand's strong support for such a treaty after receiving the petition.
New Zealand is the first nation in negotiations for a free trade agreement with China. As a result of this, and New Zealand's proximity to the nation, Amnesty International New Zealand is trying to highlight human rights in the People's Republic of China. The organisation is particularly concerned about freedom of speech issues, and censorship of the internet by the government and companies such as Google and Yahoo.
The Darfur conflict in Sudan is one of Amnesty International's top priorities, as a result of the large-scale human rights abuses occurring. AINZ has called for the introduction of a United Nations peacekeeping force to prevent conflict and stop further unnecessary suffering.
Amnesty International also supports the implementation of the New Zealand Government's Action Plan for Human Rights.
- "Zaoui: I never lost my faith in New Zealand justice". The New Zealand Herald. 13 September 2007. Retrieved 15 September 2011.