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UN to review progress for New Zealanders with disabilities

Flags at United Nations Headquarters - New York, USA

Disability Issues Minister Poto Williams departs Sunday, to lead Aotearoa New Zealand’s delegation to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Geneva.

The Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) is a commitment to disabled people enjoying the same human rights and opportunities as all other citizens.

On 23 and 24 August the UN Disability Committee will meet with Minister Williams and officials from New Zealand to review our progress towards improving rights for Disabled People.

“I welcome the opportunity to present to the Committee the progress we have achieved in implementing the Convention in Aotearoa, and to learn and be challenged by the Committee on how we can do better,” Minister for Disability Issues, Poto Williams.

“New Zealand is making progress towards the Convention and the recent establishment of Whaikaha – Ministry for Disabled people is a big step forward.  However, Disabled People are telling us we must do better in key areas such as education, income adequacy, data collection, housing and progress for Tāngata Whaikaha Māori. Therefore the review will provide us with a good indication of our overall progress and help us plan our next steps.

The Committee of international experts in disability rights hold countries to account for the progressive realisation of the Convention.

“We welcome the opportunity for the Committee to review of our progress and value their recommendations on actions.

The Government has six months after the release of the Committee’s Concluding Observations (areas where the Committee wishes to commend New Zealand and offer advice and recommendations for improvement) to respond to them.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities seeks to explain the human rights which all human beings have in ways which resonate with disabled people.  New Zealand took a leading role in the development of the convention, which makes explicit the rights of disabled people and we continue to take a leading role on disability issues today. New Zealand, alongside many other countries across the world, ratified the Convention in 2008.

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