NZ Human Rights Commission - Accessible HTML Document


What is the Human Rights Commission?

New Zealand Human Rights Commission

The Human Rights Commission was created to provide better protection of human rights in New Zealand. It works for a fair, safe and just society, where diversity is valued, human rights are respected, and everyone is able to live free from prejudice and unlawful discrimination.

The Human Rights Commission’s job is to:

There are eight Human Rights Commissioners: the Chief Commissioner, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner, the Race Relations Commissioner and five part-time Commissioners.

The Director of Human Rights Proceedings heads up an independent office within the Commission, the Office of Human Rights Proceedings – Te Tari Whakatau Take Tika Tangata. The Director decides whether to provide legal representation for people who have complained of breaches of the Human Rights Act. Proceedings are heard in the Human Rights Review Tribunal.

The Commissioners and the Director must act independently and are supported by staff in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

What are human rights?

Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms all humans are entitled to. They are expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and through international treaties.

Examples of human rights include freedom of expression, the right to be free from discrimination, the right to participate in culture, the right to work, the right to an adequate standard of living and the right to education.

Everyone is equally entitled to human rights without discrimination.

The Commission:

Human rights enquiries and complaints service

The Human Rights Commission offers a free and confidential service for people with human rights enquiries or complaints of unlawful discrimination.

The Commission also addresses broader human rights issues, for example relating to disability, housing, education, detention, employment and race relations.

The Commission advocates the human rights approach:

The Commission’s focus

Based on the New Zealand Action Plan for Human Rights, the Commission has identified six major human rights areas of work and a goal for each one:

The human rights environment

Goal: Human rights are protected and barriers to equality reduced.

Disabled people

Goal: Discrimination and inequalities are eliminated for disabled people.

Race relations

Goal: Harmonious relations between diverse groups are realised.

Right to work

Goal: Barriers to equal employment opportunities are eliminated.

Human rights and the Treaty of Waitangi

Goal: Improved Crown-tangata whenua relationships strengthen the position of the Treaty of Waitangi.

International connections

Goal: New Zealand’s security and sustainable development are strengthened.

Disclaimer: While we have tried to make this information as accurate as possible, it should not be regarded as legal advice.

Contact the Human Rights Commission.