Our work

Our work

The Human Rights Commission works across New Zealand to increase human rights standards in law, policy and practice. As New Zealand’s national human rights institution we work for a free, fair, safe and just New Zealand, where diversity is valued and human dignity and rights are respected.

How we work

Under the Human Rights Act 1993 the Human Rights Commission has the following functions to fulfil its responsibilities;

  • Advocate for human rights
  • Encourage and co-ordinate programmes on human rights
  • To make public statements in relation to any matter that may affect or infringe human rights, whether or not those human rights are affirmed in New Zealand domestic human rights law or international human rights law
  • To promote human rights through research, education, and discussion to foster a better understanding of the human rights dimensions of the Treaty of Waitangi and their relationship with domestic and international human rights law
  • To prepare and publish guidelines and voluntary codes of practice for the avoidance of acts or practices that may be inconsistent with, or contrary to, the Human Rights Act
  • To receive and invite representations from members of the public on any matter affecting human rights
  • To consult and cooperate with other people and groups concerned with the protection of human rights
  • To inquire generally into any matter, practice, procedure, the infringement of human rights
  • To appear in or bring proceedings, in accordance with section 6 or section 92B or section 92E or section 92H or section 97 of the Human Rights Act 1993
  • To apply to a court or tribunal, under rules of court or regulations to be appointed as intervener or as counsel assisting the court or tribunal, and to take part in proceedings before the court or tribunal if we see our opinion important in the proceedings
  • To report to the Prime Minister on:
    • Any matter affecting human rights, including the desirability of legislative, administrative, or other action to give better protection to human rights and to ensure better compliance with standards laid down in international instruments on human rights
    • The desirability of New Zealand becoming bound by any international instrument on human rights
  • To report to either or both of the Prime Minister and the Minister responsible on any existing or proposed legislation (including subordinate legislation), administrative provision, or policy of the Government that the Commission considers may affect human rights
  • To promote the development of new international instruments on human rights
  • To promote and monitor compliance by New Zealand with, and the reporting by New Zealand on, the implementation of international instruments on human rights ratified by New Zealand
  • To make public statements in relation to any group of persons in, or who may be coming to, New Zealand who are or may be subject to hostility, or who have been or may be brought into contempt, on the basis that that group consists of persons against whom discrimination is unlawful under the Human Rights Act 1993.
  • To develop a national plan of action, in consultation with interested parties, for the promotion and protection of human rights in New Zealand:
Racial Discrimination

Racial Discrimination

We celebrate and promote diversity, and aim to break down barriers to racial and ethnic equality in New Zealand society.

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Economic, social and cultural rights

Economic, social and cultural rights

We advocate a fair go for all, regardless of a person’s age, gender, sexual orientation, background or circumstances.

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Business

Business

Human rights matter to all businesses. We work to protect human rights by providing guidance and advice for businesses.

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People with disabilities

People with disabilities

We provide information and advocacy for people with disabilities and their families. Learn about human rights as they relate to children and adults with disabilities, and people with mental illness.

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Indigenous rights

Indigenous rights

We work with tangata whenua to promote the human rights of indigenous people through information, forums and events.

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Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Sex Characteristics

Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Sex Characteristics

We advocate for the fair treatment of all members of the LGBTQI+ community. Learn about your rights across different domains and how to address discrimination.

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Women

Women

New Zealand has made a great deal of progress on women rights but there is still work that is needed. The Human Rights Commission works to reduce discrimination based on sex. This includes work on equal pay, gender-based violence, sexual harassment, breastfeeding and more.

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Torture and detention

Torture and detention

The Commission is actively working through a range of processes including the Independent Monitoring Mechanism to align New Zealand with the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

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Privacy, data and technology

Privacy, data and technology

As digital technology continues to become further integrated into our everyday lives at an ever-increasing rate presenting a number of human rights challenges. The Human Rights Commission works on the human rights implications of digital technology, the right to privacy and how data is used.

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The Global Goals

The Global Goals

World Leaders have committed to 17 Global Goals to achieve 3 extraordinary things in the next 15 years. End extreme poverty. Fight inequality & injustice. Fix climate change. The Global Goals for sustainable development could get these things done. In all countries. For all people.

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