(06) Section 1-6

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Section One outlines the importance of human rights, particularly in disaster settings. It describes the fundamental human rights principles underpinning human rights advocacy, such as the prioritisation of vulnerable groups, non-discrimination, participation and empowerment, transparency and accountability.

Section Two sets out the legislative response to the Canterbury Earthquakes, the Crown-Iwi recovery partnership and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Strategy.

Section Three considers key policy responses relating to housing and property in the Canterbury recovery. It discusses: policy responses such as the zoning of land and the subsequent review process; the technical categories created to classify the condition of land and to enable repairs; the Government’s offer to purchase red-zoned properties; extensions to settlement dates in red-zoned areas; and the issuing of hazard notices on houses or land deemed to be unsafe.

Section Four covers service delivery responses in the recovery of housing and property. It introduces the role of key actors in the Canterbury home repair programme, including the Earthquake Commission, Fletcher Construction and private insurers. The provision of post-disaster temporary housing, the Earthquake Support Coordinator Service and the Residential Advisory Service are also considered.

Section Five provides a human rights analysis of the impacts of the Canterbury Earthquakes on housing. This section of the report is divided in to four thematic sub-sections that examine the fundamental elements of adequate housing, including affordability, habitability, accessibility and security.

The first of these, Affordable housing, examines the government’s human rights obligations to provide housing that is affordable. It considers the impact of the earthquakes on housing supply and demand and the related implications. 

The second sub-section, Habitability, considers international human rights standards and New Zealand law and policy relating to habitable housing. It highlights some challenges arising related to post-earthquake repairs and improvements to housing stock. It also provides community perspectives on issues around the habitability of housing.

Accessibility and housing, the third thematic sub-section, addresses the issue of accessibility in private dwellings in the context of the earthquake recovery. It highlights the principles of universal design and the opportunity presented by the earthquakes to make Christchurch the most accessible and liveable city in the world.

The fourth thematic sub-section, Belonging, stability and security of home, considers government responsibilities related to its obligations to use the maximum available resources at its disposal to prevent homelessness, address discrimination in housing provision, and to ensure security of tenure and adequate housing for everyone.

Section Six of the Report focuses on the impacts of the Canterbury earthquakes on the right to health. It considers the effects of secondary stressors relating to democratic rights, meaningful participation, and the significance of the link between health and social connectedness.

Section Seven, Business and human rights, introduces the relevance of human rights to business and presents a business case for human rights. It highlights the positive contribution business can make to making human rights real, and how maintaining business operations in the immediate aftermath of the earthquakes helped protect human rights in Canterbury.

The report’s conclusions are reflected in the recommendations set out below. These primarily focus on those responsible for the earthquake recovery response. However, they are also relevant for non-government organisations and private sector parties such as insurers, banks and property developers.

The Human Rights Protection Toolbox included at the end of this report is a practical response to the questions the Commission has been asked by Canterbury residents seeking to self-advocate for their human rights. It is also intended as a guide for business, government and non-government agencies seeking further information on how to integrate human rights in everyday practice. The Toolbox also includes links to recently published resources on the application of the human rights framework to post-conflict and development situations, and useful resources on business and human rights.

The accompanying poster What is a human rights approach? Making Sure People Count provides a simple reference guide that can be used by everyone, everywhere, to ensure that human rights are placed at the centre of decision-making processes. 

Public Information in NZSL

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