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​UN disability protocol comes into force

Graphic: Disability rights advocate, Robert Martin, at the UN

The Human Rights Commission says the rights of New Zealanders with disabilities will be strengthened with New Zealand's accession to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

"This is a significant development for almost one in four New Zealanders," said Disability Rights Commissioner Paul Gibson.

"Disabled New Zealanders who claim their rights have been breached under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and who have exhausted domestic remedies will be able to make a complaint to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The Optional Protocol to the Convention enables the Committee to examine individual complaints against Member States. As of May 2016, the Optional Protocol had 92 signatories and 89 States parties. It was adopted by the United Nations ten years ago.

"We would like to acknowledge the many New Zealanders from the disability community, as well as the Government, who have helped with the creation of the Convention and the Optional Protocol," said Mr Gibson.

"In particular we pay tribute to UN CRPD committee member and New Zealand disability rights advocate, Robert Martin."

While there is a range of ways to resolve complaints domestically, this important development will enhance the international human rights protections available to New Zealanders.

The Optional Protocol came into force for New Zealand on 20 October 2016.

Date: 21 October 2016

Source: New Zealand Human Rights Commission


Image credits

  1. Disability rights advocate, Robert Martin, at the UN - New Zealand Human Rights Commission