Race relations: Stand up to hatred - Dame Susan Devoy
(above: Treaty of Waitangi poster by the Human Rights Commission New Zealand)
The Human Rights Commission has called on New Zealanders to stand alongside Muslim New Zealanders in the wake of the United States ban on immigration from some Middle Eastern nations.
“So many of us are feeling helpless but the one thing we can do is let our own decision makers know that we will not allow hatred and intolerance to spread and become normalised here at home: Not in our New Zealand,” said Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy.
“Tearful Kiwi Holocaust survivors told me last week they never thought they’d witness a return to the politics of hatred, division and racism in their lifetime: but it’s happening. They urged us all to stand up for the rights of refugees, Muslims and minorities targeted by the powerful.”
“Hate starts small but so too does hope. We need zero tolerance for hatred not just in our politics but in our everyday lives, we cannot afford to be bystanders and ignore injustice.”
“Last year a racist Neo Nazi said he felt intimidated by something I wrote and my response to him is: Good. We do not want you to feel comfortable, we do not want you to feel welcome wearing your Neo Nazi uniform in our public places.”
Dame Susan says it is a good reminder to New Zealand politicians to keep it clean as we approach our next general election.
“We need to call out our own powerful decision makers if they use racism and division to push their campaigns, but it should not just be up to me – all of us need to let them know that we have zero tolerance for hate politics in Aotearoa.”
2017 UN Holocaust Remembrance Day
Excerts from Dame Susan Devoy's speech delivered on January 27, 2017, regarding the increased online hatred: "I believe online hatred is something we can get better at calling out. I believe we need better restrictions when it comes to the online forums, comments sections on some media outlet websites as well as their social media accounts. I am keen to see our Police begin to gather hate crime statistics – at the present time this is not something they collate when responding to call outs. Free speech is one thing. Hate speech is another. Those things do not belong in my country. Not in New Zealand."