Wed 31 May 2017 AT 12:00 pm , Wellington

Human Rights Conventions and the Public Sector

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Government agencies will soon be assessed to ensure they are meeting domestic and international human rights obligations and the Treaty of Waitangi. Chief Human Rights Commissioner David Rutherford will explain why government workers need to be taking these obligations more seriously.


While much is already covered in the Cabinet Manual, it will be strengthened by new legislation requiring preparation of disclosure statements by Chief Executives for assessment against human rights obligations. Recently the High Court ordered a social sector ministry to ensure its staff undertook human rights training because the Court was concerned that the human rights framework needed to be better understood in that Ministry.


Treasury’s Wellbeing Framework, the Global 2030 Agenda and the New Zealand’s Human Rights framework, which includes the human rights dimensions of the Treaty of Waitangi, are strongly linked. National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) have mapped the human rights obligations in the international human rights conventions to each Sustainable Development Goal and each SDG target. 


Human rights, ethics and privacy frameworks are going to be critical for the use of data to assess the benefits and risks of social investment and other initiatives.  Sustainable Development Goals will be used by NHRIs to demonstrate which countries are and which are not being left behind in realising human rights.


About the Speaker

David Rutherford was appointed Chief Human Rights Commissioner on September 2011. Prior to his appointment, he was the managing director of Special Olympics Asia Pacific and based in Singapore.


He has held senior executive roles in building materials and agribusiness businesses operating in New Zealand and Australia, has been chief executive of the New Zealand Rugby Union and has worked as a corporate, securities and commercial lawyer in New Zealand and Canada.


Mr Rutherford has a strong history of involvement in sports and has lectured in sports law at Victoria University. He has been a volunteer Board member in rugby union, netball, Paralympics New Zealand, Special Olympics New Zealand, Special Olympics International and for the Attitude Trust. 


He brings a passion for development and the inclusion of people with disability in sports.

       Picture of David Rutherford