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Intellectual Disability Bill Unacceptable - HRC

MEDIACOM-RELEASE-HUMAN-RIGHTS-COMMISSION

Intellectual Disability Bill Has Unacceptable Human Rights Implications

The Human Rights Commission has today voiced strong concern about a Bill currently before the Health Select Committee.

Human Rights Commissioner Ross Brereton said that the Intellectual Disability (Compulsory Care) Bill breaches both the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 and international law through its focus on mandatory institutional care.

"Placing those who have not done any wrong, but are considered to be a potential danger to themselves or others, into compulsory care amounts to systemic discrimination against people with disabilities".

"The Commission believes that the Bill concentrates on requiring `potentially dangerous' people to receive care in institutions without providing any other options and without differentiating between `offenders' and `non-offenders'."

"This could turn the clock back to a time when large numbers of people with disabilities were permanently housed in asylums. It is not that long ago that people with intellectual disabilities were the victims of ostracization and stigma. This Bill has the potential to recreate a similar set of undesirable social attitudes," said Mr Brereton.

Despite the Commission's concerns, it recognises that the Bill does provide a much-needed template for discussion on how to better meet the needs of people with intellectual disabilities who appear before the courts.

ENDS

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