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Government supports UN disability convention

Government supports UN disability convention

The New Zealand government will actively contribute to the development of a United Nations convention to protect and promote the rights of people with disabilities, Disability Issues Minister Ruth Dyson said today. The government will work in partnership with the disability community to help develop the convention.

“The United Nations has decided that a separate convention is needed to make disability issues more visible within human rights, ensure the particular circumstances of people with disabilities are addressed, and clarify countries’ obligations and requirements. This decision follows a review which showed that existing UN human rights instruments have not protected people with disabilities from human rights abuses.” Ruth Dyson said New Zealand was in an ideal position to provide leadership in developing the convention.

“New Zealand has a strong, organised community of people with disabilities. We have strengthened legislation to protect people with disabilities from discrimination. We have also developed a long-term disability strategy to create a society in which all people have the opportunity to fully participate, based on a partnership approach with people with disabilities.”

From 16 to 27 June, representatives from governments and disability groups around the world will meet at the United Nations in New York to discuss the scope and content of the proposed convention.

“The government is demonstrating its commitment to partnership by funding two people with disabilities to travel and participate in this meeting. They will be part of the New Zealand delegation, working alongside the Office for Disability Issues and the Human Rights Commission. It is essential that people with disabilities are able to provide leadership in the development of the convention, and are recognised as experts from their experience of living with impairments.”

“New Zealand will advocate a strong rights-based approach. Our human rights legislation and the disability strategy will be presented as examples of best practice that the world can use and build upon.”

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