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Report on work to further the rights of Disabled People

Government report on work to further the rights of Disabled People released today

The Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA) Chief Executive Rachel Noble notes the release today of a Government report outlining the work being done to further the interests of disabled people in the next three years

The report responds to the conclusions of the United Nations examining committee on New Zealand’s progress to implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the Disability Convention). New Zealand was examined by the committee in Geneva last year.

“The process to implement the Disability Convention in New Zealand is the closest the Government has come to being directly accountable to disabled people,” says Rachel Noble.

This is because the Disability Convention stipulates Governments must work in partnership with disabled people on issues that affect them. This is done in New Zealand through disabled people’s organisations (DPOs), such as DPA.

Rachel Noble says, “An active work plan for the next three years has begun to cover the pieces of work outlined in the Government report, however more activity will need to be included. Disabled people will watch closely and processes are in place to hold the Government to account.

“It’s good to see Government taking this work seriously and publically talking about the value of working with disabled people. Of course they do need to recognise that organisations, like DPA, need resources to build the right infrastructure and mechanisms to do this effectively.”

The Disability Convention outlines disabled people’s rights to full participation in New Zealand life and outlines the changes that are needed across areas such as education, access, employment, etc.

New Zealand signed the international Disability Convention in 2008. Every four years New Zealand will be examined by the United Nations to monitor our progress putting in place the required changes. Before the examination the Government presents a progress report to the examining committee and disabled people (through their DPOs) do the same. Both parties are represented at the examination in Geneva. One hundred days later the examining committee provide their conclusions and recommendations and our Government responds with a plan of the work they are going to do before the next examination. (this is the report released today).

The relationship between the United Nations, the New Zealand Government and disabled people continues between examinations. For example, last month DPA sent a report to the United Nations in response to a series of questions from them about the social protection of disabled people in New Zealand.

Rachel Noble says, “This report is powerful. It shows clearly how disabled people are living right now in New Zealand and illustrates how important it is for them to claim their rights as outlined in the disability Convention so they can become equal citizens in this country.”

Find these reports:

The Government report: Government Response to the UN Committee on the rights of Persons with Disabilities, Concluding Observations on New Zealand

The DPA report is called: Report to the UN on Social Protection in NZ Report to the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, United Nations, Geneva

About the Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA)

Our core function is to help engage the New Zealand disability community, listen to the views of disabled people and articulate these as we work with decision-makers.

Along with others, we work with Government, local authorities and through the media to make sure the views and requirements of disabled people are thought about in areas such as: education, economic development, housing, access to the political process (being able to vote) and access to information and buildings, etc.

Along with others we are helping to progressively implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which has been ratified by New Zealand (read more about the Convention at the end of this factsheet).

DPA Chief Executive Rachel Noble

Rachel took up her position at DPA in 2012 after five years as Chief Executive of Deaf Aotearoa.

In her career Rachel says she has been increasingly drawn to environments that work to facilitate equality for all. She says that interest was initially stirred by working in Deaf education. Trying to understand the nature of the dynamics present led to further study to understand what needs to change to facilitate equality for all.

How DPA works in practice

DPA has a system of membership and a local and national structure.

DPA members are scattered throughout the country. Most are affiliated to regional groups called regional assemblies, and include people with disabilities and others such as family, Disabled People's Organisations (DPO’s) and disability service providers.

A small group of members work as Kaituitui (weavers of knowledge) across the country They form the link between regional DPA members and the national governance and management arms of DPA. Kaituitui ensure there is a meaningful flow of communication, so policies can be formulated and initiatives launched.

Kaituitui also liaise with local authorities to represent the interests and aspirations of local DPA members.

To find out more about DPA go to our website www.dpa.org.nz/

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

New Zealand signed the Convention in 2008 and ratified it (checked our legislation to bring it into line with the contents of the Convention). The push is now on to implement the Convention in New Zealand.

From the UN website:

“The Convention is intended as a human rights instrument with an explicit, social development dimension. It adopts a broad categorisation of persons with disabilities and reaffirms that all persons with all types of disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms. It clarifies and qualifies how all categories of rights (e.g. education, employment, access, etc ) apply to persons with disabilities and identifies areas where adaptations have to be made for persons with disabilities to effectively exercise their rights and areas where their rights have been violated, and where protection of rights must be reinforced.”

To read the Convention in brief go to the United Nations website www.un.org/disabilities/index.asp


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