Human Rights in New Zealand

  • Kay Urlich

So much is happening around the world affecting the lives of everyday people, particularly the right to choose whether or not to have a COVID-19 injection.

We believe every person has the freedom to choose - under the New Zealand Code of Ethics -  to decide whether or not to have a medical procedure. 

The impact COVID-19 has had on NZ society cannot be underestimated, especially the COVID-19 mandates and pressure to vaccinate an often unwilling public. During this extremely stressful time, many people stood up for their right to choose medical freedom without coercion from governmental dictates and social manipulation. This was not to be.

By standing up for their constitutional rights many people suffered the loss of their businesses some of which had operated for over 30 years. Their crime? They refused to have an untested vaccine. These were mostly hardworking law-abiding people who just wanted to live their best life. Not only did they lose their businesses but their employees lost their jobs. This resulted in unparalleled numbers of people suffering from financial hardship resulting in staggering numbers of mental health problems in the community. For this reason, in 2022 Peace Through Compassion honours those people who, despite the hardship and public humiliation they endured stood up for the right to honour the Nuremberg Code on which the New Zealand Human Rights Act is based.  

BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL No 7070 Volume 313: Page 1448,
7 December 1996.

CIRP Introduction

The judgment by the war crimes tribunal at Nuremberg laid down 10 standards to which physicians must conform when carrying out experiments on human subjects in a new code that is now accepted worldwide.

This judgment established a new standard of ethical medical behavior for the post-World War II human rights era. Amongst other requirements, this document enunciates the requirement of voluntary informed consent of the human subject. The principle of voluntary informed consent protects the right of the individual to control his own body.

This code also recognizes that the risk must be weighed against the expected benefit, and that unnecessary pain and suffering must be avoided.

This code recognizes that doctors should avoid actions that injure human patients.

The principles established by this code for medical practice now have been extended into general codes of medical ethics.

Human Rights violations are covered by the Nuremberg Code of Ethics.

The Nuremberg Code (1947)

Permissible Medical Experiments

The great weight of the evidence before us to effect that certain types of medical experiments on human beings, when kept within reasonably well-defined bounds, conform to the ethics of the medical profession generally. The protagonists of the practice of human experimentation justify their views on the basis that such experiments yield results for the good of society that are unprocurable by other methods or means of study. All agree, however, that certain basic principles must be observed in order to satisfy moral, ethical and legal concepts:

1.The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential. This means that the person involved should have legal capacity to give consent; should be so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice, without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, overreaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion; and should have sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the elements of the subject matter involved as to enable him to make an understanding and enlightened decision. This latter element requires that before the acceptance of an affirmative decision by the experimental subject there should be made known to him the nature, duration, and purpose of the experiment; the method and means by which it is to be conducted; all inconveniences and hazards reasonably to be expected; and the effects upon his health or person which may possibly come from his participation in the experiment.

The duty and responsibility for ascertaining the quality of the consent rests upon each individual who initiates, directs, or engages in the experiment. It is a personal duty and responsibility which may not be delegated to another with impunity.


2.The experiment should be such as to yield fruitful results for the good of society, unprocurable by other methods or means of study, and not random and unnecessary in nature.


3. The experiment should be so designed and based on the results of animal experimentation and a knowledge of the natural history of the disease or other problem under study that the anticipated results justify the performance of the experiment.


4. The experiment should be so conducted as to avoid all unnecessary physical and mental suffering and injury.


5.No experiment should be conducted where there is an a priori reason to believe that death or disabling injury will occur; except, perhaps, in those experiments where the experimental physicians also serve as subjects.


6.The degree of risk to be taken should never exceed that determined by the humanitarian importance of the problem to be solved by the experiment.


7.Proper preparations should be made and adequate facilities provided to protect the experimental subject against even remote possibilities of injury, disability or death.


8. The experiment should be conducted only by scientifically qualified persons. The highest degree of skill and care should be required through all stages of the experiment of those who conduct or engage in the experiment.


9. During the course of the experiment the human subject should be at liberty to bring the experiment to an end if he has reached the physical or mental state where continuation of the experiment seems to him to be impossible.


10. During the course of the experiment the scientist in charge must be prepared to terminate the experiment at any stage, if he has probable cause to believe, in the exercise of the good faith, superior skill and careful judgment required of him, that a continuation of the experiment is likely to result in injury, disability, or death to the experimental subject.

For more information see Nuremberg Doctor's Trial, BMJ 1996;313(7070):1445-75.

The Nuremberg Code ( The Human Rights Act (NZ) The Human Rights Act | New Zealand Ministry of Justice

The Human Rights Act 1993 is aimed at giving all people equal opportunities and preventing unfair treatment based on irrelevant personal characteristics.

The Human Rights Act covers discrimination on the grounds of:

  • sex
  • marital status
  • religious belief
  • ethical belief
  • colour
  • race
  • ethnic or national origins
  • disability
  • age
  • political opinion
  • employment status
  • family status
  • sexual orientation.

It's unlawful to discriminate someone on these grounds in the following areas of public life:

  • employment
  • education
  • access to public places
  • provision of goods and services
  • housing and accommodation.

New Zealanders who think they have been discriminated against can complain to the NZ Human Rights Commission.


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  • Christopher Mawere T. A.
  • 1 May 2023
  • 10:14 pm

Thanks so much for what you do , am Christopher Mawere from Uganda director, ANTHROPOID EXPEDITIONS and HOPE FOR JOY FOUNDATION AFRICA. We have 24 children at house and helping the communities in need in case of need . Thanks for what ever you offer to the world for the best causes.

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