New Zealand Law Society - Chief Human Rights Commissioner appointed

Chief Human Rights Commissioner appointed

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Justice Minister Andrew Little has announced the appointment of human rights advocate and academic Professor Paul Hunt as Chief Human Rights Commissioner.

Professor Hunt is currently a Professor at the School of Law in England's University of Essex. He practised as a litigation solicitor in London before specialising in international and domestic human rights law, and has undertaken human rights work in the South Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Professor Hunt was Legal Officer of the London-based National Council for Civil Liberties in the 1980s, and Associate Director of the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies in Banjul, Gambia from 1990 to 1992.

He was a senior lecturer at the School of Law at Waikato University from 1992 to 2000. In 1998 the New Zealand Government nominated him to serve as an independent expert on the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, where he served from 1999 to 2002.

He served as UN Special Rapporteur on the right to the highest attainable standard of health between 2002 and 2008 and, in 2008, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the Nordic School of Public Health.

In 2011-2012, Professor Hunt held part-time responsibilities with the World Health Organisation (Geneva), advising Assistant Director-General Dr.Flavia Bustreo on human rights issues.

Mr Little says Professor Hunt will lead the continued implementation of Judge Coral Shaw's recommendations in improving the internal processes within the Commission.

Mr Little has appointed Dr Saunoamaali’i Karanina Sumeo as Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner.

Mr Little has also thanked Paula Tesoriero for leading the Commission as Acting Chief Commissioner after David Rutherford resigned in May.

“Ms Tesoriero will return to her substantive role as Disability Rights Commissioner when Professor Hunt takes up his new position.  I also want to thank retiring Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue for her service,” says Mr Little.

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