Saturday, March 13, 2010

Discrimination Against Asians Still A Key Issue In New Zealand - Updated

Asian New Zealanders and international students continue to experience racial discrimination and harassment, according to a report released by Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres.

It seems that discrimination has increased over the last year (perhaps this is a result of a 'kiwis first' mentality during the recession?) with Asians being the most discriminated against. Overall around 10% of New Zealanders experienced discrimination and it looks like police still don't collect data on racially motivated crimes:
"Public perceptions of discrimination against ethnic groups, and particularly Asians, have increased in the past 12 months. Two-thirds of survey respondents nominated an ethnic group when asked who they thought was most discriminated in New Zealand, and 28 per cent identified Asians. In a further question, when given a list of 14 named groups to choose from, 75 per cent identified Asians as the most discriminated against.

The 2009 Statistics New Zealand general social survey also asked questions about discrimination. The survey showed 10 per cent of New Zealanders experienced discrimination. The most common grounds were race, ethnic group or skin colour, and Asians experienced the most discrimination.

Examples of discrimination and harassment regularly heard by the Commission included discrimination in employment, verbal abuse (often shouted from people in cars), having water bombs and eggs thrown at them, abuse by neighbours, rubbish being tipped over the fence, damage to property and cars, bullying in schools, and harassment in the workplace.

“This type of behavior is not carried out by the majority of New Zealanders, but it is common and everyone needs to help put a stop to it,” said Mr de Bres.

Mr de Bres made five recommendations for addressing the situation:

    * Encouraging people to share stories of discrimination, harassment and abuse (in the workplace, education sector, health sector and communities).

    * Countering the relatively high incidence of discrimination against Asian New Zealanders, through government, businesses, school and community action.

    * Ensuring the safety of international students, including effective reporting mechanisms, through the education sector, police and local government action.

    * Police collection of data on racially motivated crime, as recommended by the United Nations Periodic Review of New Zealand and the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

    * Formally welcoming and acknowledging international students and temporary migrant workers in communities (for example, at Race Relations Day events).

The review of racial discrimination and harassment forms part of the Commission’s annual Race Relations Report, which will be released in Auckland on 11 March."

In November we talked about how the Maori party Co-vice president Heta Hingston said a lot of racism in New Zealand was covered up:  
"racism ... in New Zealand, is covert. Very few of the ardent anti-Maori, anti-Islander, anti-Asian front up... (the secrecy) is the worst part about racism that is rife in New Zealand. There are so many good Pakehas being tarred with the brush of those other racists that is all hidden."
Which is why police need to start collecting data on racially motivated crimes.

And in September we covered a Press report that everyday 'race hate' is rife in places like Christchurch. At that time  Joris de Bres said race-hate crimes were a problem not just in Christchurch but around the country and were occurring more often than was reported to police:
  "It's becoming more and more urgent for police to gather data of racial abuse. The Government does agree but has said it's not a priority. People needed to report their experience and schools needed a culture of tolerance and respect, he said."
Well his words have been proven to be true, incidents of racial discrimination have continued to increase. Perhaps the government should now give this issue priority and stop worrying about what it will do to New Zealand's international reputation, or the crime figure?

The report was released as scheduled on 11 March 2010 and Lincoln Tan of the Herald covered the story:
"The Human Rights Commission says racial discrimination and harassment in New Zealand is worrying.

In the annual Race Relations Report released today, the commission says it received 1253 race-related complaints and inquiries last year, which is "significantly higher" than in previous years.
Complaints related to race accounted for 55.4 per cent of all discrimination approaches.
"Data on racial discrimination and harassment from 2009 are a cause for concern," said Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres.

Also on the rise is public perceptions of discrimination against ethnic minorities, especially Asians...
There was an interesting snippet about the plight of people on temporary work permits, demonstrating that they are still being affected by 'jobs for kiwis' policies:
"Nearly one in three Maori and Pacific youth were unemployed at the end of 2009. People on temporary work permits were also affected by the recession, as their permits were not extended," Mr de Bres said." read the article

For blog posts about Racism in New Zealand please click HERE,

See Also:  Malaysian tour group subjected to racism in Arrowtown.

Today's posts - click here

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