A report written by Disabled Person’s Organisations (DPOs) representing the voice of disabled New Zealanders has been released and sent to the United Nations.
This report will inform the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the Disability Convention) as it examines New Zealand’s progress in implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
New Zealand’s first examination by this Committee is happening on 15 and 16 September in Geneva, Switzerland.
The report looks at the human rights of disabled people in New Zealand. It shows these are not well reflected in New Zealand policy and practice. As a result disabled people experience discrimination in areas such as education, the law, employment and health services.
The report from the DPOs will sit alongside the Government’s report on its implementation of the Disability Convention. The Government’s report lists services, funding and programmes that support disabled people but omits information about how these services are working for disabled people.
The United Nations Committee have specifically asked to hear from disabled people. The DPO report will ensure the Committee have a more balanced picture of life in New Zealand for disabled people.
The DPO report was written by a collaboration of seven Disabled Person’s Organisations. All these organisations are national organisations, governed by a majority of disabled people and have a mandate to represent their members, most of whom are disabled.
The report also highlights legal inequalities, including the Health and Disability Amendment Act 2013 that removed the right to complain about government policy relating to family carers of adult disabled people.
The report lists 52 recommendations for the New Zealand Government to work on improving legislation, policy and practice to ensure disabled New Zealanders can access their human rights.
The seven DPOs include representation of Deaf people, blind and vision impaired people, people with experience of mental illness, deafblind people, Māori blind and vision impaired people and people with learning/intellectual disabilities.
The seven DPOs are:
- Disabled Persons Assembly NZ Inc.
- Association of Blind Citizens of New Zealand
- Balance New Zealand
- Deaf Aotearoa NZ Inc.
- Deafblind NZ Inc.
- Ngāti Kāpo o Aotearoa Inc.
- People First NZ Inc., Ngā Tāngata Tuatahi