The recent murder of South Auckland liquor store owner Navtej Singh shocked New Zealand. Unfortunately this murder was only the last of a number of similar events. New Zealanders were also concerned about the time taken by ambulance workers to get to Mr Singh.
But I think many of us were also shocked to hear of the full plight of Mr Singh’s widow, Harjinder Kaur. She has now been left with the responsibly of caring for three young children and elderly parents. And, according to her brother, “in our culture, remarriage is not an option.”
Most of us in New Zealand just have no comprehension of the limits some cultures place on the human rights of people – usually the women. In her blog Stargazer, Anjum Rahman discusses (see widow) the problems widows face in India and the activity of Women’s groups on these issues.
The comment made by Harjinder Kaur’s brother highlight a problem we face in today’s world of massive global movement of peoples. Imposition of customs, usually enforced by religion, which are inappropriate for people living in a modern liberal and pluralistic society.
These are the sort of problems which our National Statement on Religious Diversity ignores.
Freedom of expression and offence – religious or otherwise
Beyond Tolerance – Toward Understanding and Respect
Religious diversity and human rights
Atheism and religious diversity IV: Values, morality and spirituality
Human rights for the non-religious
Limits to respect and toleration