Fourteenth Session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities New Zealand National Statement

Ministry Statements & Speeches:

Delivered by Minister for Disability Issues, Hon Carmel Sepuloni, 15 June 2021.

Tena koutou, Tena koutou, Tena koutou katoa. [Greetings everyone]

It is an honour to again participate in the Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

New Zealand has a strong history of protecting and promoting the rights of persons with disabilities, domestically and internationally.

COVID-19 has had a devastating impact globally, and has exposed and heightened inequities across and within communities, including for persons with disabilities. However, as we look to the future, we have an opportunity to “build back better” for all people.

The last 18 months has been an intense period of learning for our Government. We have done well on many metrics, but there were many lessons learned.

We learned the value of engaging people with disabilities in monitoring and oversight, enhancing their voices in decision making. Developing communications that are inclusive and accessible for citizens with disabilities has been critical to keep people informed.

There is a need to take care that temporary and at times necessary measures that constrain individual autonomy and community participation remain temporary. Such measures should be lifted as soon as possible.

There is a need to be flexible in the provision of services for persons with disabilities and their families to ensure changing needs are met; including addressing the digital divide. Education and learning is a universal human right for all, even in a pandemic.

New Zealand continues to support the disability community throughout the Pacific Islands region. For example, by ensuring disability organisations are included in humanitarian clusters, and through inclusive education initiatives.

At the global level, New Zealand will continue to champion disability rights, and support efforts to remove barriers to inclusion.

This year we have provided financing to support the implementation of the UN Disability Inclusion Strategy. We also welcome the recommendations in the Secretary-General’s policy brief on a disability-inclusive response to Covid-19. These are important initiatives to ensure the UN is a role model for inclusion, and to enhance implementation of the CRPD and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Thank you.


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