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Our work

Our work

Learn about the work we do.

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What are human rights?

What are human rights?

Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms that everyone should have. There are two main types of human rights – civil and political rights, and social, cultural and economic rights.

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International reporting

International reporting

Human rights were first expressed in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Countries who sign up to international human rights treaties must include the rights in their own laws.

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Office of Human Rights Proceedings

Office of Human Rights Proceedings

The Office of Human Rights Proceedings (OHRP) is an independent office within the Human Rights Commission that provides free legal representation to complainants to take selected discrimination cases to the Human Rights Review Tribunal.

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— December 14, 2018

Pacific women paid lowest in New Zealand’s Public Service

A pay gap of 21% for Pacific women working in the public service is alarming and needs to be addressed urgently, says Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Saunoamaali’i Dr Karanina Sumeo.

— December 13, 2018

New Zealand needs to take a human-rights based approach

Acting Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero will highlight significant human rights issues in New Zealand with United Nations member states in Geneva this week.

— December 13, 2018

Grace Millane’s death reminds us of the violence so many women in New Zealand face

The shameful culture of violence against women in New Zealand must urgently change, writes Women’s Rights Commissioner Saunoamaali’i Dr Karanina Sumeo.

— December 13, 2018

Rebekah Armstrong: What the Australian Modern Slavery Act will mean for big Kiwi businesses

Australia has a Modern Slavery Act. It comes into effect 1 January 2019 and places legal requirements on companies earning more than A$100 million ($104.7m) per annum to publicly report on modern slavery risks in their supply chains.

— December 10, 2018

Paula Tesoriero: Human rights declaration as relevant as ever at 70

Three New Zealanders helped bring about the land mark Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 70 years ago, writes Acting Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero.

— December 7, 2018

Transformational change needed to reform our Education system

The Human Rights Commission welcomes the release of the Tomorrows Schools Independent Taskforce: “Our schooling futures: Stronger Together’ Report.

— December 7, 2018

New accessibility work programme important step in breaking down barriers

The Human Rights Commission welcomes the announcement of a new government work programme focussing on accessibility.

— December 3, 2018

Having a voice: A conversation with Robert Martin

Earlier this month, Paula Tesoriero, the Disability Rights Commissioner, spoke with Robert Martin MNZM to talk about his position on the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

— November 30, 2018

November Tūrangawaewae Newsletter

This issue covers why we need to create an education system that is inclusive of everyone, the release of the terms of reference for the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historic Abuse in State Care, our welcome for Saunoamaali’i Dr Karanina Sumeo, the Supreme Court’s Taylor decision and more.

— November 30, 2018

Human Rights Commission calls for new body to ensure pay transparency

The Human Rights Commission is calling for a new independent body to be set up to ensure transparency in reporting about pay equity.