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Robert Martin elected to UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Graphic: Robert Martin celebrates his election at the UN

Robert Martin is the first person with a learning disability to be elected to a UN committee. He was strongly supported by New Zealand's NHRI.

New Zealander Robert Martin was elected to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at UN headquarters in New York.

"Robert's election is a milestone achievement for all people with disabilities. He is the first person with a learning disability to stand for and be elected to a UN committee," said New Zealand Disabilities Rights Commissioner, Paul Gibson.

"Robert Martin hasn't just smashed through a glass ceiling, he's smashed through the ceiling and walls of institutions that locked him away for most of his early years. Every New Zealander can be proud of his incredible achievement today."

A prominent disability rights advocate, Robert's nomination was initiated by the New Zealand Human Rights Commission. He was subsequently nominated by the New Zealand government to the Committee that is comprised of 18 independent disability experts.

The panel monitors how well countries are implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Eighteen candidates from around the world were nominated for nine positions.

"Robert played a significant role in the development of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and at times was the only representative of people with intellectual/learning disabilities," said Mr Gibson.

"Some of his contributions to the Convention are providing hope for people like him, among the most forgotten members of our communities."

"Robert has dedicated his life advocating for the rights of people with learning disabilities to participate in their communities instead of being locked away in institutions."

Date: 15 June 2016

Source: New Zealand Human Rights Commission


Image credits

  1. Robert Martin celebrates his election at the UN - People First New Zealand