Statement by NZ Permanent Representative, HE Mr Jim McLay, at the 2nd session of the Conference of States Parties to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
2 September 2009
New Zealand joins those who have complimented your leadership on disability issues and welcomes this opportunity to bring States together with civil society, to share and learn as we implement the Convention.
At the first Conference of States Parties, Professor Gerard Quinn described the Convention as the ‘engine of domestic law reform’, and Article 33, on national implementation and monitoring, as the ‘transmission belt that alone can trigger real change’; and we agree.
If the implementation and monitoring architecture envisaged in Article 33 is made to work, it will drive domestic implementation.
New Zealand views Article 33’s requirements as a three legged stool, with all three legs necessary to achieve Professor Quinn’s aspiration.
One leg is within government – we need a focal point to overcome policy overlaps, conflicts and gaps, and a mechanism to coordinate actions across sectors and levels.
A second leg relates to national institutions that protect and promote human rights, such as our Ombudsmen and Human Rights Commission.
New Zealand is committed formally to involving people with disabilities as the third leg in the national framework to promote, protect and monitor implementation of the Convention, and I am pleased to announce that we are presently exploring options to achieve such outcomes.
We are also determined that government agencies should engage, early with people with disabilities, families and civil society about developments that might impact them; and have started discussions with disabled people’s organisations, and others, on approaches that could work.
Other implementation actions
In the meantime, New Zealand continues to take action to implement its disability strategy and the Convention.
We will develop a guide to our existing legislative requirements around reasonable accommodation, and anticipate this will lead to more businesses and others providing appropriate accommodation.
We are looking at how publicly-funded disability support can focus on giving choice and control to enable disabled people, and their families, to lead ordinary lives and to participate in society.
And we are reforming our post-census statistical survey on people with disabilities to be more focused on ordinary life outcomes, to give us better indicators to track outcomes.
All this, Mr President, as we work to implement this groundbreaking Convention.