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Great Leap Forward For Disability Rights Treaty

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release

GREAT LEAP FORWARD FOR INTERNATIONAL DISABILITY RIGHTS TREATY

Disabled people can look forward to a new human rights treaty.

At the United Nations in New York on Friday 25 August 2006, countries agreed on a final text for the draft convention on the rights of disabled people.

An estimated 600 million disabled people worldwide would benefit from the wide range of rights on offer, according to New Zealand delegation head Jan Scown, Director of the Office for Disability Issues .

“The agreement on a final text is a real victory for disabled people everywhere” she said. “Both in New Zealand and worldwide the Convention will give disability issues a visibility and legitimacy not enjoyed to date.

“It’s the culmination of a lot of hard work put in by New Zealand.” she said.

Jan Scown paid tribute to the chairmanship of New Zealander Don Mackay. “Without his skilful handling of negotiations, we might not have had a successful conclusion. Compared with other conventions, we’ve made record time on this one.”

DPA Chief Executive Gary Williams has been involved in the process since the beginning.

“The easy part is over. Now it’s time to work with the Government and Human Rights Commission to implement and monitor the Convention after New Zealand has ratified it” he said. “Representatives of disabled people have been included in the government delegations to the negotiations. We look forward to continuing in that spirit in the future.”

The next step is for the final text to be adopted by the UN General Assembly. Countries can then ratify the Convention.

ENDS

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