Our Work

Disability rights are promoted through a variety of activities around the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, and every day through promoting and protecting the rights of people with disabilities. Our work in this area is led by Disability Rights Commissioner Paul Gibson.

We work in partnership with others to help individuals and organisations around New Zealand to understand their rights and meet their legal responsibilities. We do this by working with government, business, community partners, education providers, the media and workplaces.

For information presented in NZSL please visit this section here.

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The CRDP gives voice, visibility and legitimacy to disabled people and their issues in New Zealand and the rest of the world. It is aimed at protecting the dignity of persons with disabilities and ensuring their equal treatment under the law including the right to health services, education and employment.

The Commission has produced a short resource in plain language setting out what the Disability Convention is and what it means for disabled people in Aotearoa. You can read the resource here.

Making disability rights real: monitoring the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

To help monitor the implementation of the Disability Convention, a mechanism, or group of agencies, has been set up to monitor and report on the Government’s performance. The group is called the Independent Monitoring Mechanism, or IMM. Read the monitoring mechanisms reports here.

World Down Syndrome Day

Monday 21 March 2016 marks the 11th anniversary of World Down Syndrome Day. Each year the voice of people with Down syndrome, and those who live and work with them, grows louder. Learn more here.

Te Urunga Award for inclusiveness

The Commission presents the Te Urunga Award to support inclusiveness at Polyfest. The award is presented to the cultural group displaying the most inclusive practice in a creative performance at each of the festival’s six stages. Read more about the award here.

Disabled People’s Rights Reports

The Commission, in consultation with the community, identified three key areas where disabled people continue to face barriers: the built environment; the accessing of  information and political participation. Following this, the Commission developed three reports on the different aspects of accessibility in New Zealand. Read the reports here.

Reasonable Accommodation Guide focussing on persons with disabilities

New Zealand’s Independent Monitoring Mechanism (comprising the Office of the Ombudsman, the Human Rights Commission and the Convention Coalition Monitoring Group) has published a guide on reasonable accommodation of persons with disabilities.

The guide is aimed at assisting persons with disabilities to understand their rights to request reasonable accommodation. You can read a PDF version here and an accessible Word version here.  

Disabled Children's Right to Education

The Disabled Children’s Right to Education report was prepared by the Commission in response to complaints and issues raised with the Commission. The report summarises complaints and enquiries to the Commission, New Zealand legal and policy frameworks, the concepts of inclusive and special education, the international human rights framework and legal and policy approaches in comparable overseas jurisdictions. Read the Disabled Children's Right to Education here.

The Right to Sign: New Zealand Sign Language and Human Rights

The Commission carried out an inquiry into the use and promotion of New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). The full report of the inquiry, A New Era in the Right to Sign, was launched in Parliament by the Minister for Disability Issues on 3 September 2013. Read the Right to Sign report here.

The Accessible Journey

The Accessible Journey report came out of a decision to hold an Inquiry into disabled peoples access to public transport. The Inquiry itself was prompted by the experiences of disabled people who came to the Commission seeking enforcement of their right not to be discriminated against in the provision of public transport. Read the Accessible Journey report here.

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

International Day of Persons with Disabilities is celebrated on 3 December each year. The day is promoted across the world by the United Nations to encourage better understanding of disability issues. Read more about the IDPD here.

Making Complaints – a guide for mental health service users

The Commission has published a guide to help people make a complaint about a service or treatment received for a mental health issue. It explains what to do if people are not happy with how they have been treated because of their mental illness. It outlines complaints services available, the type of complaints they handle and how to contact them. Read the guide here.

Guide to using disability rights language

One of the key aims of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is to promote respect for disabled people’s dignity. These guidelines have been developed by the Commission as a practical tool to help us when talking or writing to, and about, disabled people. Read the guidelines here.

Group Discrimination and Disability: research report Nov/Dec 2008

UMR Research were commissioned to investigate peoples perceptions of discrimination in Aotearoa New Zealand. One aspect of this research was concerned with finding the level of New Zealanders with a disability which prohibits or stops them from doing everyday activities. Read the research report here.

Guidelines for banks to meet the needs of older and disabled customers

The Commission created guidelines to help the banking sector meet the needs of older and disabled people. Read the guidelines here.

Korowai Whaimana Programme

Korowai Whaimana was an education initiative created in partnership between the Like Minds Like Mine programme, the Human Rights Commission, and people with experience of mental illness. Read about the Korowai Whaimana Programme here.

Insurance and the Human Rights Act Guidelines

The Commission has published guidelines to assist the insurance industry and the public to understand the relationship between the Human Rights Act and insurance. The guidelines include specific references to mental illness. Read the guidelines here.

Human Rights and Seclusion in the Mental Health Services

The Commission has published a report on the use of seclusion in the Mental Health services and the impact that this has on New Zealand's international human rights commitments.  Read the report here.

Payments for providing care to disabled adult family members

The Commission has been involved in a number of legal cases related to payments to individuals who provide care to disabled adult family members. Learn more here.

Health insurance premiums and the Human Right Act 1993

Complying with human rights law has just got easier for health insurers with the release of this Human Rights Commission publication. The Commission hopes the Guidelines will help ensure a better understanding of the relationship between health insurance and human rights law and how it works. Learn more here.