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Rights Of Intellectually Disabled People Protected

The Human Rights Commission has expressed its satisfaction that a significant breach of the human rights of people with intellectual disabilities may be avoided.

Human Rights Commissioner Ross Brereton was pleased with the redrafted version of the Intellectual Disability (Compulsory Care and Rehabilitation) Bill

“The original Bill’s proposal for the compulsory detention of people with disabilities who had not offended but were merely considered to be a risk to themselves and others, has been removed” said Brereton.

In submissions to the Committee the Commission said that the original Bill exposed people with disabilities, who had done nothing wrong, to the risk of indefinite preventative detention.

The Commission advised the Committee that detaining people who have not done anything wrong was likely to be a breach of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act, which protects people from discrimination.

“People with intellectual disabilities should not be subjected to discriminatory treatment out of ignorance and fear at behaviour perceived to be different,” said Brereton.

The Committee reported the Bill and related amendments to the Criminal Justice Act back to the house last week, after the legislation had been 8 years in the making.

“This bill has been a long time coming, and to many people with disabilities have been jailed by a criminal system they cannot understand in that time,” said Brereton.

“The Human Rights Commission and many other concerned groups have consistently voiced their concerns. Now, we are all simply saying let’s make this Bill law”.


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