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Two new Human Rights Commissioners appointed

12 February 2008 Media Statement

Two new Human Rights Commissioners appointed

Associate Justice Minister Lianne Dalziel today announced the appointment of two new part-time Human Rights Commissioners – Karen Johansen and Jeremy Pope.

"Karen Johansen brings education and community perspectives to the role of Human Rights Commissioner and Jeremy Pope's domestic and international experience, which have included legal and educative aspects, will also add value to the Commission," Lianne Dalziel said.

Background on Karen Johansen and Jeremy Pope

Karen Johansen is of Pakeha and Maoori descent, with Iwi affiliations to Rongowhakaata, Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki and Ngati Tamanuhiri of the Gisborne/East Cape area. She attended Gisborne Girls' High School, returning in 1970 as an assistant teacher and again in 1985 as Assistant Principal. Ms Johansen has been the Principal there since 1996. Her contributions to the Gisborne community include former member and deputy chair of the Tairawhiti Polytechnic Council and Tairawhiti Trust member.

Jeremy Pope's legal career spans 10 years in private practice in this country and 17 years with the Commonwealth Secretariat in London as well as work for various NGOs. He has assisted election commissions in Africa and Asia, has been an anti-corruption consultant to the President of the World Bank and advisor to the UN on containing internal corruption. He is a former member of the State Services Commission Advisory Committee on Trust in Government and continues to lecture here and overseas.

Background on the Human Rights Commission

The Human Rights Act 1993 sets out the primary functions of the Human Rights Commission. The Commission exists to: • advocate and promote respect for, and an understanding and appreciation of, human rights in New Zealand society; • encourage the maintenance and development of harmonious relationships between individuals and among the diverse groups in New Zealand society.

The Commission achieves these through: • education about human rights • production and distribution of human rights information and resources • inquiring into and reporting on human rights matters • resolving disputes relating to discrimination

The Commission consists of a Chief Commissioner, a Race Relations Commissioner, an Equal Employment Opportunities (EEO) Commissioner and up to five other part-time Human Rights Commissioners. All Commissioners are appointed by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Minister of Justice.

Karen Johansen and Jeremy Pope join Chief Commissioner Rosslyn Noonan; Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres; EEO Commissioner Dr Judy McGregor; and part-time Commissioners, Robyn Hunt and Joy Liddicoat.

Commissioners hold office for a term not exceeding five years and may be re-appointed.


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