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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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— February 14, 2019

Ombudsman’s investigations will ensure the voices of people with learning disabilities are heard

The Ombudsman’s investigations into the oversight of facilities and services for people with learning disabilities is timely says Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero.

— February 5, 2019

17 recommendations from the United Nations Universal Periodic Review on disability

Earlier this month, United Nations member states made recommendations to improve human rights in New Zealand. There were 194 recommendations. Seventeen of the recommendations were specifically about disability.

— February 4, 2019

"It is imperative we do not lack conviction" — Chief Commissioner

Chief Human Rights Commissioner, Paul Hunt, made the following speech at Makara Cemetery for the United Nations International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

— January 24, 2019

Chief Human Rights Commissioner urges Government to treat poverty as a human rights issue

The new Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt has called on the Government to ensure human rights are made relevant in the everyday lives of all New Zealanders.

— January 22, 2019

Human rights and well-being need to be at the centre of Government’s reform agenda

The Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt is urging the New Zealand Government to place human rights, equality and well-being in the centre of its reform agenda.

— January 21, 2019

Why it matters that New Zealand could receive its first LGBTI+ recommendation before the UPR

Katharine Woolrych writes from Geneva about the potential for New Zealand to receive its first recommendation on LGBTI+ issues before the UPR.

— January 18, 2019

What is the Universal Periodic Review, and why is it important for New Zealand?

On Monday (21 January) Justice Minister Andrew Little will discuss New Zealand’s human rights record over the past four-and-a-half years at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

— December 21, 2018

December Tūrangawaewae Newsletter

In this issue, we look at the human rights implications of the State Services Commission’s Inquiry into the Use of External Security Consultants, the pay gap for Pacific women in the public service, the need for transformational change in the education sector, the new Australian Modern Slavery Act, and more.

— December 21, 2018

Paula's Pānui - December 2018

This has been such a busy year and just like the end of a year, anniversaries also often prompt reflection. The 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December was a useful moment to look at what we have achieved in terms of human rights – and what more we need to do.

— December 20, 2018

Breach of human rights highlights need for right to privacy protections

The findings from State Services Commission’s Inquiry into the Use of External Security Consultants shows the need for stronger protections to safeguard human rights, especially privacy says Chief Legal Advisor Janet Anderson-Bidois.