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Inquiry into historical state abuse is the right thing to do

Graphic: 'Never again' campaign logo

Survivors of state abuse and supporters have delivered an open letter and petition to the New Zealand parliament calling for a public inquiry.

The Human Rights Commission has welcomed the Prime Minister's announcement that he has not ruled out an inquiry into historical state abuse, after the Deputy Prime Minister last week acknowledged for the first time that abuse in state care had been systemic.

"Truth and reconciliation is the right thing to do for New Zealanders who were robbed of childhoods and lives by abusers who were paid to care for them," said Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy.

"This is about seeking the truth about crimes and human rights abuses carried out against our children and disabled loved ones. This is about our nation's historical record," she said.

"An inquiry is the only way we can know for sure that abusers are no longer working within the system."

On 6 July 2017, survivors of state abuse and supporters delivered an open letter and petition to parliament calling for a public inquiry and a state apology.

More than 100,000 children and vulnerable adults were taken from their families and placed in state care over three decades. Many suffered sexual, physical and psychological abuse. However the full extent is unknown as an inquiry has never taken place.

"We pay tribute to our survivors of state abuse and thank them for their courage, humility and mana. The abuse they suffered was systemic so we need to investigate the system that abused them," said Disability Rights Commissioner Paul Gibson.

"Survivors, advocates and experts are clear that an inquiry is crucial. Without an inquiry we will never learn all we can to keep our loved ones safe in the future, as children, in disability support, in mental health care, or in aged care."

Date: 11 July 2017

Source: Human Rights Commission of New Zealand

Image credits

  1. 'Never again' campaign logo - New Zealand Human Rights Commission