We promote and defend human rights.

In particular, the ways we promote and defend human rights are:

  • making submissions on new laws with human rights implications
  • monitoring New Zealand’s compliance and implementation of our international obligations under the international conventions our government has signed
  • preparing shadow reports for relevant United Nations treaty bodies to be considered alongside official reports
  • providing educational events and resources for the New Zealand public on topical human rights issues
  • tracking human rights news and highlighting current human rights issues through our blog


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Past wins and projects

Universal Periodic Review (UPR)

We coordinated a Stakeholders’ Report from New Zealand civil society organisations for New Zealand’s 2019 Universal Periodic Review.

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Guides to dealing with the NZSIS and protecting yourself from banned material online

In 2018, we published two pamphlets to support New Zealand’s Muslim community.

This work was supported by the NZ Law Foundation.

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Book: Law into Action: Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Aotearoa

In 2013, we published a book with Thomson Reuters, supported by the NZ Law Foundation, that explores the historical and potential implementation of economic, social and cultural rights in New Zealand in a way that is inclusive, functional, and readily applicable to ‘doing’ rights and making positive changes in our country.

Justice for Ahmed Zaoui

The Foundation supported Ahmed Zaoui, who gained refugee status after a protracted legal battle. He is now a New Zealand citizen, but even after he gained refugee status following a decision of the Refugee Status Appeal Authority he remained in solitary confinement under a National Security Risk Certificate until 13 September 2007 – five years after he arrived in New Zealand.

Our support for Mr Zaoui included:

  • raising funds towards his legal costs and expenses he incurred by to bring witnesses to New Zealand to appear before the Inspector-General of the SIS in the review of the security risk certificate
  • preparing FAQs and educational materials on his behalf
  • public advocacy and campaigning for his freedom and refugee status

Refugees’ Rights

Since our founding in 2001, we have consistently worked for the human rights of people seeking refuge in New Zealand. In 2002, we and the Refugee Council together published a report, Freedom’s Ramparts on the Sea raising concerns over the routine detention of asylum seekers. This report was funded by Amnesty International.

Lawyers involved in the Foundation have also successfully acted for refugees on numerous occasions over our 20 year history. We owe particular thanks to the work done by Dr Rodney Harrison QC, Deborah Manning, Margaret Lewis, and Ryken & Associates.

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