The Human Rights Commission is calling for more information on the justification behind the temporary suspension of travel from India.

“Temporarily banning New Zealanders from returning home from India is a significant limitation on their freedom of movement. Clear justification for the limitation on this basic right is vital. Regular review of the suspension is also crucial,” Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt said.

“I’m calling for more transparency from the government about the decision to suspend travel from India for New Zealanders for the next 14 days.”

“While a public health emergency is a justification for limits to be placed on the free movement of people, any limitation on the rights of New Zealanders to return home must be clearly justified by the government in accordance with its domestic and international human rights obligations.”   

“An assessment cannot be made on the lawfulness of the limitation without full transparency from government so we can ascertain whether its decision is proportionate and necessary.” 

New Zealand has also agreed under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter their own country.

The United Nations Human Rights Committee “considers that there are few, if any, circumstances in which deprivation of the right to enter one’s own country could be reasonable”. 

The expert independent Committee requires that any measures limiting this right are proportionate, necessary, and non-discriminatory, time-bound and legal under international human rights law.