Top activist and lawyer dies

Jeremy Pope
Jeremy Pope

Human rights commissioner and anti-corruption campaigner Jeremy Pope has died, aged in his 70s.

Mr Pope, who was a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court, died at Wellington Hospital yesterday surrounded by his family.

He was appointed to the Human Rights Commission in 2008, and was the founding managing director of non-governmental organisations Transparency International and anti-corruption group Tiri.

Mr Pope was also made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2007 for services to international affairs.

Chief Commissioner David Rutherford said the commission was feeling for Mr Pope's family and friends.

''I count myself fortunate to be amongst the many people to have learned much from this great New Zealander. His perspective and knowledge will be missed by all of us."

Equal employment opportunities commissioner Dr Judy McGregor said Mr Pope had great experience, expertise and commitment to human rights.

"Jeremy championed the civil and political rights of  New Zealanders, supported the strengthening of parliamentary democracy, and had an interest in progressive penal reform. We will greatly miss his courage, good humour and gentle wisdom."

Mr Pope spent 17 years working at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, as well as working for several NGOs here and overseas.

He regularly provided the Human Rights Commission with advice on criminal justice issues and litigation, and led the way on the commission's adequate standard of living project.

During the 1970s and 1980s, Mr Pope led the Save Manapouri environmental campaign, and helped found the London-based human rights NGO Interights.

As well as his human rights involvement, Mr Pope also authored a series of New Zealand travel guides with his wife Diana, and was a regular commentator for CNN, the BBC world service and the Voice of America.

A service will be held for him at Old St Paul's on Mulgrave St at 11am on Monday.

The Dominion Post