Human Rights Commission (New Zealand)
|Te Kāhui Tika Tangata|
|Independent crown entity overview|
|Key document||New Zealand Human Rights Act|
The Human Rights Commission (Te Kāhui Tika Tangata in Maori) is the national human rights institution (NHRI) in New Zealand. It is funded through the Ministry of Justice, but operates independently of the New Zealand Government. It applies and enforces the Human Rights Act 1993, a New Zealand statute outlawing particular kinds of discrimination.
The Commission was formed in 1977, and currently functions under the Human Rights Act 1993. The Office of the Race Relations Conciliator was made part of the Commission in 2001. The Commission works to educate New Zealanders, publish information, investigate human rights abuses, and resolve disputes over rights and discrimination related issues. The Commission's current chair is David Rutherford. The other commissioners are Dame Susan Devoy (Race Relations Commissioner), Dr Jackie Blue (EEO Commissioner), Paul Gibson (Disability Rights Commissioner), Karen Johansen and Richard Tankersley; Jeremy Pope served until his death in August 2012.
- Dame Susan Devoy 2013 – present
- Joris de Bres 2002–2013
- Gregory Fortuin 2001–2002
- Dr Rajen Prasad 1995–2000
- John Clarke 1992–1995
- Chris Laidlaw 1989–1992
- Walter Hirsh 1986–1989
- Hiwi Tauroa 1980–1986
- Harry Dansey 1975–1979
- Sir Guy Powles 1972–1973
The Commission is one of some 70 NHRIs accredited by the International Co-ordinating Committee of NHRIs (ICC), a body sponsored by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). The Commission's "A status" accreditation allows it special access to the United Nations human rights system, including speaking rights at the Human Rights Council and other committees. The Commission has presented parallel reports ("shadow reports") to several UN treaty committees examining New Zealand's compliance with international human rights instruments. From 2010 to 2012 the Commission chaired the ICC, and the Asia Pacific Forum of NHRIs, one of four regional sub-groups of NHRIs.
Review of human rights
In 2010 the Commission conducted a publicly available review of human rights in New Zealand in order to both identify the areas in which New Zealand does well, and where it could do better to combat persistent social problems. The 'report card' is an update of the Commissions' first report in 2004, and will lead its work for the next five years. The report notes steady improvements in New Zealand's human rights record since 2004, but also "the fragility of some of the gains and areas where there has been deterioration." In the report, the Commission identifies thirty priority areas for action on human rights in New Zealand under a number of sections: general; civil and political rights; economic, social and cultural rights; and rights of specific groups.
- "Race Relations Conciliators Interviewed". scoop.co.nz. 2006. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
The first Conciliator, Sir Guy Powles, was appointed in December 1971 and held the post for 18 months. He was succeeded by Harry Dansey. Subsequent Conciliators have been Hiwi Tauroa, Walter Hirsh, Chris Laidlaw, John Clarke, Rajen Prasad, Gregory Fortuin and Joris de Bres. The current Race Relations Commissioner is Susan Devoy.
- "Race Relations Commissioners and Conciliators mark significant anniversary". Human Rights Commission. 2012. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- "Susan Devoy takes race relations role". 3 News NZ. March 20, 2013.
- "Joris de Bres // New Zealand Human Rights Commission". hrc.co.nz. 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
Joris de Bres has been New Zealand’s Race Relations Commissioner since 2002. He was previously General Manager, External Relations in the Department of Conservation and head of industrial relations for the New Zealand Public Service Association.
- "RELATIONS CONCILIATOR OF NEW ZEALAND". un.org. 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
Statement by Gregory Fortuin, Race Relations Conciliator
- "Race Relations Conciliator Gregory Fortuin - South Africans". Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand. teara.govt.nz. 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
With a mixed racial African and Afrikaner background, Gregory Fortuin, shown here in 2001, grew up near Cape Town. Classified as a ‘coloured’, he experienced discrimination under the apartheid regime. He took his family to live in Australia in 1986, and arrived in New Zealand in 1991. He was New Zealand’s race relations conciliator from 2001 to 2002.
- "G21 ASIA - 'Fortuin's Challenge'". generator21.net. 2010. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
he took up the post as New Zealand Race Relations Conciliator, in succession to Rajen Prasad , on May 1st,
- "Massey News | Honouring Hiwi Tauroa". massey.ac.nz. 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
- "Inmagic DB/Text WebPublisher PRO: 1 records". aucklandcity.govt.nz. 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
FIRST MAORI PRINCIPAL of a SECONDARY SCHOOL Thought to be Mr Edward Te Rangihiwinui Tauroa of Wesley College, Paerata.
- "Powles, Guy Richardson - Biography - Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand". teara.govt.nz. 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
Government confidence in the office became such that the ombudsman’s responsibilities were extended to cover hospital boards and education authorities (1968) and territorial and other local government authorities (1975). From 1971 to 1973 Powles was also race relations conciliator. He undertook special inquiries into the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (SIS) and the Auckland maximum security prison at Paremoremo. Designated chief ombudsman in 1975, he retired on 5 April 1977. In September 1976 the International Ombudsman Conference, meeting at Edmonton, Canada, carried a unanimous vote of appreciation and respect for Sir Guy Powles. From May to October 1978 he was resident consultant at the International Ombudsman Institute in Edmonton.
- "Human Rights in New Zealand 2010". Human Rights Commission. Retrieved 11 August 2011.
- Human Rights in New Zealand 2010, Human Rights Commission
- New Zealand Human Rights Commission
- National Human Rights Institutions Forum (NHRIs Global network)
- Disgraced judge appointed as human rights director