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Lifting Of Disability Discrimination Exemption

Prepare For Lifting Of Disability Discrimination Exemption

MEDIACOM-RELEASE-HUMAN-RIGHTS-COMMISSION

DISABILITY STRATEGY WELCOMED, BUT GOVERNMENT MUST PREPARE FOR LIFTING OF DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION EXEMPTION - HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

The Human Rights Commission welcomes the New Zealand Disability Strategy discussion document, Making a World of Difference: Whakanui Oranga, released today by Minister for Disability Issues Ruth Dyson.

Commissioner Ross Brereton said that the Disability Strategy was an important recognition by the Government of the need to remove barriers for disabled people.

"The Strategy should provide a greater focus on disability and human rights as a basis for policy and practice," Mr Brereton said.

"However, the Commission notes that a major remaining barrier for disabled people is the exemption in the Human Rights Act 1993 that allows government departments to discriminate on the grounds of disability until the end of 2001".

"The Commission challenges all government departments to look to the future and frame their policies as if the exemption did not apply," said Mr Brereton.

The Commission is currently collating complaints against government agencies and will provide them to the Minister of Justice in December this year, as provided by the Human Rights Amendment Act 1999.

"The Commission has already received a range of complaints against various government departments which reflect the diversity of issues for the disabled community.

The Commission hopes the Government are preparing for the lifting of the exemption in 16 months time," Commissioner Brereton said.

The Human Rights Commission is hosting a Disability Forum in Auckland this Tuesday, 12 September.

ENDS

MEDIA RELEASE FROM THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

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