Our work

Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Sex Characteristics

We all have the right to be free from discrimination and to be treated with fairness and respect. We undertake a number of projects as the Human Rights Commission to promote equality and end violence and discrimination against all people with a diverse sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics.

All people have the same rights and freedoms, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics (SOGIESC). SOGIESC is an umbrella term like Rainbow, LGBTQI+, and MVPFAFF. It includes people who are takatāpui, lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, intersex, transgender, transsexual, whakawahine, tangata ira tāne, māhū (Tahiti and Hawaii), vakasalewalewa (Fiji), palopa (Papua New Guinea), fa’afafine (Samoa, America Samoa and Tokelau), akava’ine (Cook Islands), fakaleiti or leiti (the Kingdom of Tonga), or fakafifine (Niue).

Chief Human Rights Commissioner, Paul Hunt

Paul Hunt has vast human rights experience encompassing civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. He has worked with organisations such as the United Nations, including the World Health Organisation, addressing issues such as health and improving economic, social, and cultural rights. Mr Hunt has served on the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1999-2002) and as a Special Rapporteur to the UN Human Rights Council (2002-2008). He has been admitted as a solicitor in England and Wales and holds a Master of Jurisprudence from the University of Waikato, where he was a Senior Lecturer in Law from 1992-2000. He has published extensively on a wide range of human rights issues. In recognition of his contribution to human rights, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the Nordic School of Public Health in 2008. Mr Hunt comes to the Human Rights Commission from the University of Essex where he was a Professor in the School of Law.

Past Projects

The Inquiry into Discrimination Experienced by Transgender People

The Report of the Inquiry into Discrimination Experienced by Transgender People was a world first by a national human rights institution and focused on three areas: trans people’s experience with health care access, everyday interactions and community participation.
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