Human rights and responsibilities as important as ever in Alert Level 4

Human rights and responsibilities as important as ever in Alert Level 4

August 19, 2021

The Human Rights Commission is encouraging rights, responsibilities and respectful relationships to each other to be front of mind for New Zealanders over the coming days and weeks.

Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt says as a nation we have human rights and also responsibilities to our whānau, neighbours, workers, and wider communities.

“These are uncertain times for many across Aotearoa New Zealand as we adapt to Alert Level 4. We have a human rights responsibility to act with fairness, respect (manaakitanga), dignity, and kaitiakitanga as we navigate these difficult times together.” 

Mr Hunt says the Government has legally binding human rights and Te Tiriti obligations to limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect everyone’s human rights to life and health protection.

“The Government may restrict some rights, such as freedom of movement and the right to assembly, provided the restrictions are necessary, proportionate, permitted by law, and advance the protection of other human rights and Te Tiriti o Waitangi.”

The Chief Commissioner said the Human Rights Commission will do all it can to support everyone in New Zealand and this includes blowing the whistle if the Government overreaches its lawful authority.

The Human Rights Commission website covid19.hrc.co.nz provides some answers to the frequently asked questions we've received in relation to COVID-19 and human rights.