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Views of Disabled New Zealanders Sought by United Nations


27 March 2013

Views of Disabled New Zealanders Sought by United Nations

A group of disabled people’s organisations, led by disabled people and known as the Convention Coalition, has this year commissioned two monitoring reports on the rights of disabled New Zealanders. The reports will be submitted to the New Zealand Government and later to the United Nations – as part of a larger report.

“The reports will investigate the individual experiences of disabled youth and examine how disabled New Zealanders are portrayed by the media. The project team and all those working on the reports are themselves disabled people” said Rachel Noble, chair of the Convention Coalition.

The youth report will include a review and analysis of current legislation, policies and programmes relating to this group. The media report will provide an analysis of how disabled people are portrayed by the major print, television and radio media in New Zealand.

“We will shortly conduct interviews with 16 to 17 year-old disabled youth and there will also be meetings to gather information from disabled adults about their views of how they are portrayed in newspapers, TV and radio. This will all go into our report to the United Nations,” said Rachel Noble today.


Brief fact sheet – about the monitoring process

New Zealand ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) in September 2008.

Article 33 of the convention relates to the national implementation and monitoring of the Convention.

Article 33.1 provides that Government establish a focal point "for matters relating to the implementation of the present Convention". That focal point is the Office for Disability Issues in the Ministry of Social Development.

Article 33.2 provides for the establishment of an independent mechanism for the monitoring of the implementation of the Convention. Government has designated three organisations to jointly perform this function - the Human Rights Commission, the Office of the Ombudsmen and the Convention Coalition. The three organisations have become collectively known as the troika.

Article 33.3 says that disabled people, through their representative organisations, must be involved in monitoring the Convention's implementation.

To this end, eight disabled people's organisations (DPOs) formed the Convention Coalition at the beginning of 2010. The Convention Coalition provides the civil society component of the obligations for national implementation and monitoring of the Convention under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding signed by its member organisations. The eight national DPOs are:

• Association of Blind Citizens of New Zealand Inc.

• Balance New Zealand Bipolar and Depression Network

• Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand

• Disabled Persons Assembly (NZ) Inc. (DPA)

• Nga Hau E Wha

• Ngāti Kāpō O Aotearoa and

• People First New Zealand Inc.

• Deafblind (NZ) Inc.

In particular, the Convention Coalition provides an ethical mechanism for disabled people's input into the monitoring of their rights, as stated in the Convention. Through its links to Disability Rights Promotion International, based at York University, Toronto, Canada, the Convention Coalition ensures a sustainable process for this input into the future.

Target group

The Convention Coalition involves the widest group of disabled people possible in any or all of the elements of monitoring. Disabled people are defined (in consistency with the Convention's understanding of disability as an evolving concept) as including those who have long term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments. Every effort is made to ensure the monitoring activities cover people with all types of impairment, drawn from rural and urban areas in the North and South Islands including Maori and Pacefika.

Long term goals of the Convention Coalition

New Zealand is obligated to monitor the implementation of the Convention. By supporting disabled people's organisations to be an equal partner in the monitoring framework, and to link with a reputable international project supporting disabled people to monitor the experience of their rights, the Convention Coalition can ensure it honours the spirit of the Convention and develop a sustainable process. The Convention Coalition anticipates this will help to further the implementation of the Convention in New Zealand and of outcomes for disabled people.

Long term outcomes

Disabled people, via their representative organisations in the Convention Coalition, have an active part and direct voice in monitoring disability rights. The voice of disabled people is heard directly. Information from this monitoring activity will be analysed and a written monitoring report(s) produced each year based on the analysis.

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