A complaint against the Human Rights Commission has been laid by the New Zealand Association of Rationalists and Humanists, citing the HRC’s failure to address state sanctioned religious discrimination in primary schools.
Peter Harrison, President of the Rationalists said “It is about time that the Human Rights Commission take a long hard look at how it is dealing with complaints about the indoctrination occurring in state schools.”
School boards in New Zealand can approve evangelical organisations coming into the school to indoctrinate children without the knowledge or permission of parents. According to a 2013 survey about 40% of state primary schools operate some form of Christian Bible Class.
Every year the HRC receives many complaints about religious instruction in school, from children being forced to pick up rubbish if they opt out to parents being bullied and excluded from the school when the opt their children out of religious indoctrination classes.
While the HRC takes a strong and laudable stand against racism they have not made public statements about freedom of religion.
Harrison said that “the complaint simply requests that the Human Rights Commission live up to its charter, to become energetic, enthusiastic supporters of freedom of belief, to publicly endorse an education system that is safe and welcoming to all children, and to actively take an interest in ensuring schools observe the Human Rights Act and do not discriminate against children on the basis of religion.”