New Zealand has received advice from a wide range of countries on how to improve its human rights, including from Venezuela, Russia, Syria and Myanmar.

The advice is included in the United Nations Human Rights Council draft report on New Zealand.

Justice Minister Andrew Little led a delegation of 14 to Geneva in January to report on advances in New Zealand human rights and discuss where improvements could be made.

Areas of concern included disparities for Maori in employment and life expectancy, imprisonment rates, discrimination on the basis of gender identity, the gender pay gap and family violence.


The council selected Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Slovakia from its 47 members to run the review of New Zealand.

Various countries have made specific recommendations for New Zealand to consider which are listed in the draft report.

Russia wants New Zealand to consider not only a written constitution but wants to see the Treaty of Waitangi enshrined in law.

Venezuela wants the Bill of Rights Act to be given a constitutional status and it wants to see women and girls guaranteed a life free from violence.

Iran wants New Zealand to improve anti-discrimination legislation to ensure the protection of rights of ethnic minorities.

Belarus wants to see less over-crowding in prisons and better access of prisoners to quality medical services.

Myanmar wants New Zealand to close the pay gap in the public service.

Syria wants immediate steps taken to combat solitary confinement in medical facilities holding juveniles, people with intellectual or psychosocial disabilities, pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers in prisons and in all healthcare institutions.


China wants to see effective measures to combat human trafficking and to protect the rights of migrant workers.

And Oman wants New Zealand to strengthen measures in the area of women's empowerment and the promotion of equal opportunities for women.

Closer friends also made specific recommendations for New Zealand to consider.

Australia wants New Zealand to amend the Human Rights Act 1993 to explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity and intersex status.

Britain wants New Zealand to consider introducing legislation requiring businesses to report publicly on transparency in supply chains, and to eliminate practices of modern slavery in New Zealand and beyond its borders.

And the United States wants New Zealand to take action to ensure the provision of physical and mental health services for those in detention facilities, as well as to reduce overcrowding in prisons.

New Zealand will provide responses before the next session of the Human Rights Council which runs from June 24 to July 12.