Insurance and building firms subject of human rights complaint
New Zealand residents have complained to the OECD on human rights grounds after insurance and construction companies failed to fulfil their obligations four years after the Canterbury earthquake devastated the country.
The aftershock of the earthquake resulted in the deaths of 185 people as well as in widespread damage to houses and other properties, many of which still remain in a poor condition.
In the years following the earthquakes, Canterbury residents filed over 70 individual complaints, with the common allegations being the failure of insurance companies to resolve claims more than three years after the earthquakes, and construction firms not starting, completing or inadequately repairing earthquake damaged homes.
Residents went on to found the Wider Earthquake Community Action Network (WeCAN) to file human rights claims under the OECD guidelines against five insurance and construction companies operating in Canterbury.
According to Steve Patterson who is leading the litigation on behalf of WeCAN, the claims aim "to hold companies accountable for their conduct or complicity, in causing, exacerbating or contributing to human rights violations in the Canterbury rebuild".
The claims allege that the inadequate response by those companies are contributing to the violations of residents' rights to health and adequate housing.
The four companies named in the OECD complaints are:
Arrow International, AIG, Fletcher Construction, Vero Insurance New Zealand
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