MENZ Issues

UN Complains About Racism in NZ Justice System but Ignores Sexism

A powerful UN group has been visiting New Zealand as reported mainly on radio, as described here and here. Unfortunately the NZ journalists didn’t spell the UN group leader’s name correctly.

MoMA sent the following letter to the UN and plans to follow up with some media releases concerning this.

9 April 2014
To Mads Andenas, Chairperson, UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
Dear Mr Andenas
During your visit to New Zealand this month you have highlighted the high rate of imprisonment for our indigenous Maori population and you have challenged the NZ government to investigate and stop racial bias in our justice system.
Your challenge was commendable. However, why have you ignored the much greater bias in New Zealand’s justice and corrections systems, that being gender bias against men?
As a proportion of NZ’s total Maori population approximately 0.73% are imprisoned, this percentage being 9.13 times greater than the percentage of Europeans imprisoned.
However, as a proportion of NZ’s total male population, approximately 0.37% are imprisoned and this percentage is 18.5 times greater than the percentage of women imprisoned.
The evidence for gender bias comes not only from rates of imprisonment. At least one good research study published in the prestigious journal Criminology uncovered routine gender bias in the operation of our justice system (see Jeffries S, Fletcher GJ, Newbold G (2003). Pathways to sex-based differentiation in criminal court sentencing. Criminology 41(2), 329-354). Further, New Zealand has no crimes that are race-specific but several that are gender-specific. One is ‘Male Assaults Female’ that can only be committed by males (there is no ‘Female Assaults Male’ offence but ‘Common Assault’ carries only half the sentence available for the male-specific one), another is ‘Sexual Violation by Rape’ that can only be applied to males, and another is ‘Infanticide’ that only women murderers of young children can be prosecuted for and for which they face very lenient maximum sentences whereas any male who committed exactly the same violence would be liable for life imprisonment.
Why would you only challenge New Zealand’s racial disproportion in imprisonment but not the much greater gender disproportion? Are men considered so worthless by the United Nations that discrimination against them will just be ignored?
Yours sincerely
Hans Laven
Ministry of Men’s Affairs (A community group because successive governments have ignored the voice, rights and welfare of New Zealand men)