Human Rights Advocacy is a Charitable Trust registered as a charity with the Charities Commission. It was registered on 1 June 2011 (Reg. No. CC46647) to “Encourage action to end systematic, institutional human rights violations [and] establish a more effective human rights monitoring and protection system” (see: www.hradv.org). Its Trust Deed defines its purposes as including:
s. 3.1.1 To expose violations of human rights to the public and United Nations.
s.3.1.3 To lobby for and support international human rights resolutions.
s. 3.1.4 To promote and publish human rights materials promoting The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
The Charities Commission records the Human Rights Advocacy [“HRA”] website as www.hradv.org and has the HRA Trust Deed available on its website (www.charities.govt.nz)
The HRA’s attractive website homepage features a colour photo of numerous human rights advocates holding up flags outside our Parliament buildings (presumably protesting against alleged human rights violations?). The HRA website seeks to expose the alleged persecution of Falun Gong practitioners by the Chinese and Vietnamese governments and highlights HRA’s lobbying efforts to seek to have human rights legislation upheld by the New Zealand Government.
The Charities Commission records HRA as engaging in “Human Rights Promotion, Education and Research”. The HRA website defines HRA as “an international non-government organisation [NGO] based in New Zealand… seeking to work with United Nations mechanisms” to effect law change etc.
As a registered charity, Human Rights Advocacy is able to offer significant tax-rebates to its New Zealand donors with taxable incomes. Its efforts to expose alleged human rights abuses of Falun Gong practitioners by the Chinese Government and alleged abuses of repatriated refugees by other governments, and its zealous lobbying for law change, could lead to foreign governments seeking to shut down its website and challenge its charity-registered status. However, the Charities Act 2005 does appear to allow for charities to engage in “political advocacy”, “animal rights advocacy”, “morals advocacy”, engage in political lobbying and even expose human rights violations and exploitation (corruption) by foreign governments of its citizens.
Human Rights Advocacy is a laudable endeavour deserving the support of all kiwis genuinely concerned about the exposure of human rights abuses both in New Zealand and overseas. Those seeking to uphold and promote good community standards should be prepared to speak out against such abuses.