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Acclaim Otago submits report on disability to the UN

Acclaim Otago submits report on disability to the UN

Acclaim Otago recently submitted an interim report to the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disability (CRPD) Committee that raises issues people disabled by injury face by reference to the articles of the Convention.

The UN CRPD Committee will examine New Zealand’s progress on the CRPD in Geneva, Switzerland in September 2014. This will be the first time New Zealand has been examined by the CRPD Committee. Acclaim Otago aims to ensure that consideration can be given to adopting a list of issues that requires the New Zealand Government to account for the experiences and outcomes of people who have disability caused by injury in New Zealand.

In late 2013, the New Zealand Law Foundation provided their annual Shadow Report Award to Acclaim Otago to enable them to present a shadow report to the Convention Committee in order to provide balance to the state report. That award has allowed Acclaim Otago to commission the preparation and presentation of this report.

Spokesperson Dr Denise Powell says “Acclaim Otago acknowledges that, on the whole, New Zealand ought to be congratulated on its support for the rights of people with disabilities. The fact remains that the architecture of the Accident Compensation Corporation (“ACC”) scheme and the way it is administered deprives people disabled by injury of some fundamental human rights”.

The evidence outlined within the report suggests that there are structural problems with the legal and institutional framework around the ACC scheme, and the substantive law that comprises that scheme.

“These problems have a significant effect on the experiences and outcomes of injured people. There is no proper respect for the privacy of people with disabilities, entitlements are stopped without a person being able to work or being properly rehabilitated, integrity of the person is compromised and effective access to justice is often not available” says Mr Warren Forster, the main author of the report. Mr Forster says “What is required is the reconstruction of the legal system that manages injured New Zealanders to ensure the law meets the proper standards required by the convention.

“We hope that by raising systemic issues in a forum where they can be properly heard that ACC will continue to improve and to ultimately become a leader in the protection and promotion of people who are disabled by injury’s rights” Dr Powell said.

“The issues raised by the report have been endorsed by a consensus of organisations and individuals who engage with the ACC scheme and should therefore be considered as a consensus view of the issues facing people with disability caused by injury in New Zealand” Mr Forster said.

Once the list of issues has been adopted, Acclaim Otago will conduct another survey of injured people to provide more detailed information on the issues, consider the state’s response and then provide a further report to the Committee in July 2014 that focuses on the issues and recommendations to address these.

A full copy of the interim report can be found on the UN website


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