Human Rights Commission Releases PRISM Report

Huge thanks to the NZ Human Rights Commission for their newly released report PRISM.

”Prism explores six human rights issues relating to people with a diverse sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics in Aotearoa New Zealand.”

It highlights that ”The human rights principle of self-declaration for identity documents is not yet fully implemented; it applies for passport and drivers’ licence records but not for birth certificates.”

The report makes 31 recommendations for resolving the six disparities in human rights for people with diverse sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics.

SOGIESC stands for Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, and Sex Characteristics.

Summary of Findings:

THE RIGHT TO FREEDOM FROM DISCRIMINATION (ARTICLE 2, UDHR)
• The Human Rights Act 1993 does not provide explicit legal protection from discrimination with regards to gender identity, gender expression, or sex characteristics.
• Overt and subtle forms of discrimination are widespread against people with an actual or perceived diverse SOGIESC, and they are more likely to become victims of crime.

THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION (ARTICLE 19, UDHR)
• Unmet information needs are a considerable obstacle for the identification and resolution of issues concerning people with a diverse SOGIESC.
• Data collection does not currently reflect a human rights-based approach. This is particularly clear in response options that limit diverse answers and the ability of SOGIESC-diverse people to be counted.

THE RIGHT TO RECOGNITION BEFORE THE LAW (ARTICLE 16, ICCPR)
• New Zealand’s official identity documents contain sex/gender information which can be difficult to correct for transgender, non-binary, and intersex people.
• The human rights principle of self-declaration for identity documents is not yet fully implemented; it applies for passport and drivers’ licence records but not for birth certificates.
• The current process to amend sex on a birth certificate requires meeting a medical threshold and the involvement of the Family Court, presenting barriers to having a child, enrolling in school, getting married, and other areas of life.

THE RIGHT TO THE HIGHEST ATTAINABLE STANDARD OF HEALTH (ARTICLE 12, ICESCR)
• Surgical interventions not required for the preservation of life continue to be performed on people with diverse sex characteristics before an age at which they can consent to these procedures.
• People with a diverse SOGIESC have poorer physical and mental health outcomes than the general population.
• Healthcare practitioners and providers often lack the training to meet the needs of SOGIESC-diverse service users.
• Gender affirming healthcare is difficult to access and highly dependent on geographical residence.

THE RIGHT TO EDUCATION (ARTICLE 26, UDHR)
• Young people have a right to learn about diversity in SOGIESC. The New Zealand Curriculum allows for such learning within health education, but this is not adequately integrated into practice in schools.
• For youth with a diverse SOGIESC, school is often not a safe environment in which they can thrive and learn.
• Youth with a diverse sexual orientation or gender identity are, respectively, three and four-and-a-half times as likely as other students to be bullied.

THE RIGHT TO WORK (ARTICLE 23, UDHR)
• People with a diverse SOGIESC experience discrimination and bullying in the workplace.
• The most common complaint received by the Human Rights Commission on the ground of sexual orientation is related to discrimination in employment.
• A significant percentage of people with a diverse SOGIESC do not feel safe enough or fear discrimination at work or when applying for jobs. They often conceal their identities or partners for fear of discrimination if these details are disclosed to others in their work environments.


Read the full report here.