Your rights

What are human rights?

Human rights recognise the inherent value of each person, regardless of background, where we live, what we look like, what we think or what we believe. They are based on principles of dignity, equality and mutual respect.

Human rights focus primarily on the relationship between a nation’s government and its citizens. The government is required to protect people’s rights. When you hear in the media about human rights abuses, often it is in the context of a government not protecting their rights. Others, such as businesses and local government are responsible for respecting people’s right.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations on 10 December 1948, sets out the basic rights and freedoms that apply to all people. Drafted in the aftermath of World War Two, it has become a foundation document that has inspired many legally-binding international human rights laws. Human rights include civil and political rights, as well as economic, social and cultural rights. See more information here.

The New Zealand Government has agreed to uphold and respect many of these human rights treaties including the:

The Commission has a responsibility to monitor New Zealand’s performance in meeting its international human rights commitments. We provide advice and recommendations, and conduct advocacy so that these standards are reflected in our national laws, as well as policies and programs developed by government. To read about the work we do to advocate for New Zealanders human rights click here.