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Disability Bill Passed

3 September 2008 Media Statement

Disability Bill Passed

"The government is moving ahead to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, following passing of the Disability Bill," said Ruth Dyson, Minister for Disability Issues.

The Bill’s passing will see various legislation amended to ensure consistency with the Convention. The amendments remove outdated references to disabled people and makes explicit, certain obligations in the Human Rights Act regarding accommodating the needs of disabled people.

"This action will reinforce New Zealand’s reputation as a leading human rights champion," said Ms Dyson.

"I welcome New Zealand joining many other countries in a global commitment to disabled people. The Convention will help shine a light around the world on a long forgotten and invisible group. It is the first human rights treaty of the twenty-first century, establishing an international legal framework so that disabled people’s rights are valued on an equal basis with others.

"Over recent years, New Zealand has made strong progress in removing barriers experienced by disabled people. This work has gathered pace under the guidance of the New Zealand Disability Strategy released in 2001, where progress by government is reported to Parliament annually.

"New Zealand has made significant progress. However, there’s still more work required before we can provide a fully inclusive society for disabled people. The Convention is a useful tool to help us in this work, and to ensure all New Zealanders enjoy their rights of citizenship and lead highly valued and productive lives," said Ms Dyson.

ENDS

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