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Gov-General Receives Int. Disability Award - UN


Governor-General Receives International Disability Award

The Governor-General, Hon Anand Satyanand, received a prestigious international disability award on behalf of New Zealand at the United Nations in New York today.

At 5pm Tuesday 6 May (9am Wednesday 7 May in New Zealand), at a ceremony attended by the UN Secretary-General, HE Ban Ki-moon, the Governor-General received the Franklin Delano Roosevelt International Disability Award. The ceremony can be viewed on (www.un.org/webcast channel 2) from 9am.

In accepting the Award, the Governor-General indicated that New Zealand would seek election to the United Nations Human Rights Council next year.

The Award, from the World Committee on Disability and the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, recognises New Zealand’s efforts to improve the rights and lives of people with disabilities. These initiatives include the Human Rights Act 1993, the establishment of the Office of Health and Disability Commissioner, establishing the role of the Minister for Disability Issues and the Office for Disability Issues, developing and implementing the New Zealand Disability Strategy and New Zealand’s role in negotiating the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. New Zealand Disabled Persons Assembly President Mike Gourley also attended the ceremony.

In his speech, the Governor-General said it was a great honour to receive the award on behalf of New Zealand. While New Zealand had achieved much in assisting those living with disabilities, more remained to be done, he said.

“This award reflects a sustained commitment to address the needs and wellbeing of New Zealanders who live with long-term impairment. Some have been born with disabilities and many others are disabled by injuries or illness later in life. New Zealand is committed to the principle that everyone is born equal in dignity and worth. Everyone is entitled - as a human right - to live a life to the fullest extent of his or her abilities.”

The Governor-General said the award reflected New Zealand’s ongoing commitment to human rights and to the rights of those living with disabilities.

“New Zealand believes that empowering and supporting those with disabilities is not a social nicety, but is rather a deeper obligation that stems from its commitment to human rights. It is in this spirit that New Zealand will seek election to the United Nations Human Rights Council next year. With its long-standing commitment to civil, political and human rights, New Zealand believes it can make a significant contribution to the Council’s work.”

The full text of the Governor-General’s speech at the Acceptance Ceremony and at a Reception following the ceremony can be viewed at www.gg.govt.nz/media/speeches.asp from 9am.

ENDS

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