Anthony Ravlich – New Zealand

Linked with International NGO Coalition for an Optional Protocol to the ICESCR, with Human Rights Network AOTEAROA New Zealand; with Complaints Procedure At The UN, with Liberal Dream Turning Sour, with Social Justice is Gaining Momentum, and with Western Double Standards and the new United Nations.

Also linked with our many older posts about op-icescr on our NGO-Blog: during February 2005, and during March 2005, then with op-icescr: the Optional Protocol of the International Convent of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, op-icescr on August 31, 2005, op-icescr and Intellectual Property, with Again: op-icescr & NGOs … and on the Humanitarian blog: what’s about the endless op-icescr, and with Background Doc on op-icescr.

Anthony Ravlich, chairman of the Human Rights Foundation has some concerns about privacy and misuse. While the system is voluntary now, he sees no reason why that couldn’t change in the future:

  • “There seems to be little to stop a government from making such a scheme compulsory at some future date despite it involving people being forced to give information” Ravlich says …
  • “Privacy is only protected by ordinary law, the Privacy Act 1993, which government can change” …
  • “However if the right to privacy were included in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 which was then made supreme law this would provide some protection. However it is very unlikely for this Act to be made supreme law at a time when civil liberties are being curbed globally to address the problem of terrorists and other undesirables” …
  • “However the Department of internal Affairs is at pains to stress the voluntary nature of the IVS saying people ‘will always have an option to use or not use the IVS and GLS (Government Log-on Service) service” … .

Tony is Chairperson of the Human Rights Council who have been involved in the community educating people in Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, a covenant that is less well understood and perhaps less applied in New Zealand, than its sister covenant on civil and political rights. He is interested in eradicating poverty and feels that it often leads to conflict in UN forums and also weaken countries internal instability (human rights filmfest.net).

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Anthony Ravlich – New Zealand

His book: Freedom from Our Social Prisons, The Rise of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, to be published on May 2008, allBookstores.

He writes: … But putting this into perspective during the recent Open-Ended Working Groups discussions on whether to draft an Optional Protocol for the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (a complaints procedure for those suffering social injustice) which could be of assistance the bulk of humanity who live in poverty countries such as the US, Australia, the UK, Canada and India have opposed the drafting of the Optional Protocol. These countries prioritize civil and political rights thereby marginalizing economic, social and cultural rights, and in the case of the US this is to the point of exclusion. The US is the only industrialized country not to have ratified the covenant on economic, social and cultural rights under international law.


However it is debatable, for example, to what degree torture, imprisonment without trial etc (civil and political rights) compared to a lifetime involving a desperate struggle for survival by the poor (economic, social and cultural rights) equate in terms of seriousness. Also it must be recognized that those imprisoned without trial, tortured etc are small in numbers compared to those living in extreme poverty. But suffice to say that the United Nations has constantly maintained, at least in terms of rhetoric, that civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights are of equal status (Vienna Declaration, 1993) so States should not prioritize either set of rights yet typically the West, at the domestic level, only define human rights as civil and political rights.
What is rarely ever discussed are the reasons for prioritizing civil and political rights. Paul Hunt, presently the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Health, quoted ‘the great (African) jurist’, Chief Justice Dumbutshena of Zimbabwe, who delivered a speech at the 1990 Commonwealth Law Conference when he referred to the political nature of human rights in the West. He stated: “Human rights is an ideology used to achieve power. It has been used hypocritically by the middle classes, in efforts to protect only their own rights (Human Rights – How are they Best Protected, ed Paul Hunt, publisher New Zealand Human Rights Commission, December 1999).
In essence there appears to be three human rights areas which reflect Western double standards: … (full long text, 13 March, 2006).

UN Divided Over Complaints for Social Injustices, 11 February 2005.

Anthony Ravlich – New Zealand, Found on zoomInfo:

He writes also: … For example, greater protection would exist if ESC rights were included in the Human Rights Act 1993 and the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 which presently only consist of civil and political rights (CP rights) i.e. traditional liberties. Two other party representatives responded reluctantly with Phil Goff, the Labour Government Minister of Foreign Affairs, while admitting the importance of ESC rights, side stepped the issue of the need for ESC rights in law and instead talked of the existence of legal rights under ordinary legislation to protect social justice. However he overlooked the fact that legal rights are at the whim of successive governments whereas as ESC rights social justice would be protected by the courts in the same way as are traditional liberties and democratic rights (also governments do not like to be seen violating human rights). The Green Party representative, Keith Locke, was also rather muted in his response though indicated his party recognized the importance of ESC rights. Apart from ensuring, at the very least, basic levels of health, standard of living etc the umbrella of ESC rights (social responsibility) would ensure that those with a social conscience, socialist groups, many religious groups, NGOs representing the poor, and lower class cultures will not continue to be marginalized or relegated to the fringes of society … (full text).

A People’s Freedom, 17 August, 2006.

Learn about and Support the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights:

  • This section includes information on the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (OP-ICESCR) and the current efforts to support its creation. An OP-ICESCR would allow victims of violations of ESCR to present complaints before a United Nations body, against a state that violates the obligations established in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, if the state has ratified the OP-ICESCR;
  • The Resource Pages on the OP-ICESCR aim to provide information to NGOs, specially those working at the national level who wish to contribute to the process;
  • Below you will find an outline of the Resource Pages and the topics it covers. We encourage you to get involved in support of the OP. It is a timely opportunity to contribute to the development of stronger standards and mechanisms for the realization of economic, social and cultural rights. Let’s make a difference together.

… (full text).

Find him and his publications on Google Group-search.

links:

The Human Rights Party New Zealand;

the Human Rights Party on MARAMATANGA with its ‘Minor minor party follow-up‘, August 24, 2005;

Party lists in the New Zealand general election 2005;

Policy.net.nz;

Open letter to The President of the Republic of South Africa, Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki, July 10, 2003;

Church joins fight against extortion“, March 16, 2006;

What is NSSM 200 “Population Control” by Kissinger;

UN transformation proposed to create ‘new world order’.

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