New Zealand Law Society

Navigation menu

Unlawful discrimination tops list of human rights enquiries

20 December 2017

The Human Rights Commission received 5,453 new human rights enquiries and complaints in 2016/17, an increase of 117 over the previous year.

The figure is included in the Commission’s annual report.

The total is made up of:

* 3,716 complaints about a human rights issue, of which 1,211 were complaints about unlawful discrimination,

* 1,501 requests for other assistance including enquiries about human rights training, advice or resources, legal intervention or advocacy,

* 236 registrations of concern.

The Commission closed 5,115 enquiries and complaints over the year. Of those 4,512 (88%) were resolved, or involved providing some form of assistance, 492 (10%) were withdrawn or the person did not reply to the Commission, and 111 (2%) were unable to be resolved within the Commission’s dispute resolution service.

The report says a total of 3,242 (63%) enquiries and complaints were dealt with and closed within seven days, and 4,135 (81%) were closed within one month.

The Commission’s mediation process produced 78 settlement outcomes involving systemic change. These included:

* Guidance to staff was issued by an organisation after a complaint that a customer with a disability had been refused alcohol because the effects of the disability were confused with intoxication.

* A training provider changed its enrolment policy so that a 65-year-old could enrol in a carpentry course.

* An airport installed a baby change table in its men’s toilets as the result of a complaint.

In progressing complaints, there is an ongoing focus on advocacy to improve knowledge and awareness. This year the Commission updated its publications on the complaint process, the A-Z pre-employment guide to human rights, sexual harassment guidelines for complainants and respondents, and the rights of indigenous peoples.

Last updated on the 20th December 2017