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Precedent Setting Hate Speech Case


The Office of Human Rights Proceedings (OHRP) is bringing
a case against the Attorney-General arguing current hate
speech provisions under the Human Rights Act fail to protect
people on the basis of sexual orientation.

The gap was
exposed in 2017 when a West Auckland Pastor made inciteful
comments against homosexuals that were reported on in the
media. But, the law had no response to that hate speech
because it was targeted towards homosexuals, and was not on
the basis of colour, race, ethnic or national
origins.

Minister of Justice Hon Kris Faafoi is
proposing to change to the incitement provisions in the
Human Rights Act to include sexual orientation, age and
disability.

Despite the proposal to change the law to
include sexual orientation, the Attorney-General, on behalf
of the Government, is continuing to say the current settings
are not discriminatory.

The plaintiff disagrees and
says current law fails to protect him and is therefore
discriminatory on the basis of his sexual
orientation.

The case will be heard in the Human
Rights Review Tribunal in
Wellington.

  • When: Monday 10 am
    June 14
  • Where: Level 1, 86
    Customhouse Quay, Wellington

The case is
expected to last three days.

Background

The
case comes from 2017 when West Auckland pastor Logan
Robertson incited violence towards homosexuals. A Ponsonby
man argued the Human Rights Act failed to protect him from
hate speech and breached his human rights. He took the case
to the Human Rights Commission for mediation. Mediation was
not successful and the man took his case to the OHRP which
took the case and is now providing free legal representation
to him. Read the Cabinet paper on the proposed law changes
here; https://www.justice.govt.nz/assets/Documents/Publications/Proactive-release-incitement-provisions.pdf
Read the Human Rights Commission’s overview on hate speech
here: https://www.hrc.co.nz/news/resource-hate-speech-legal-framework-published/

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