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Deaf Aotearoa pleased with commitment to disability rights

Deaf Aotearoa pleased with renewed government commitment to disability rights


Deaf Aotearoa is in support of the Independent Monitoring Mechanism’s (IMM) full report Making Disability Rights Real July 2012 – December 2013, released in Christchurch yesterday.

The report highlights the New Zealand Government’s dedication to the rights of those with disabilities, including the Deaf and hard-of-hearing communities.

Deaf Aotearoa is committed to working alongside the Human Rights Commission in giving better access to interpreters in court after inconsistencies with access to qualified interpreters in some courts were found in the 2012 IMM report. Deaf Aotearoa notes that more work needs to be done in this area which will ensure full access and appropriate representation for Deaf people.

Deaf Aotearoa are pleased with the progress that has been made by the Ministry of Education who have established a sector advisory group to improve access to New Zealand Sign Language in schools.

The group builds on work already undertaken to improve resources available to Deaf students.

The IMM report highlights the need for funding to be provided for political broadcasts and televised debates for the 2014 general election to be available in New Zealand Sign Language and to be captioned. Robert Hewison, President of Deaf Aotearoa, says that the organisation is pleased that Able, who provide captioning and audio description services, is working hard to ensure that this is happening right now.

Additionally, Deaf Aotearoa are eager to see development of comprehensive policy on the accessibility of programmes that are Government funded, in cooperation with broadcasters and consumers, to clarify accessibility objectives and targets.

“While there is still work to be done to improve New Zealand Sign Language access and awareness which will enable the Deaf community to advance and thrive in society, Deaf Aotearoa is pleased with the New Zealand Government’s renewed commitment to Deaf rights and with strong efforts being made,” says Mr Hewison. “We are always looking for ways to strengthen relationships within government departments through our partnerships and advisory group work.”

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