March, 2010
ISSN 1174-9245
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Editorial

Commissioner Robyn Hunt

Commissioner Robyn Hunt

We are nearly three months into 2010 and already there is a lot happening. I hope everyone had a pleasant holiday break, although it probably seems a long time ago now.

A new year brings a new CEO for DPA. I am looking forward to working with Ross Brereton and warmly welcome his appointment.

Readers’ feedback has suggested that each edition of Manahau could have a focus on one Article of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. We liked the idea and have begun with a timely focus for this edition on Article 24 – the Right to Education.

You can find out about the status of disabled children’s right to education and the Government’s Review of Special Education and other reports on the right to education. Have your say and join the discussions and consultation forums taking place around New Zealand.

Māori disabled people will be glad to be able to read the CRPD in te reo along with all the other formats and versions of the Disability Convention. It is significant that the Convention is now available in all three of our national languages, so everyone in the disability community can know about their rights.

Right to Education – what does this mean for us?

Education is a basic necessity for all people. It is a fundamental right. It is the primary means by which disadvantaged people can lift themselves out of poverty and participate fully in their community. It gives independence, citizenship rights, employment and economic power.

There are 50 Articles (sections) in the United Nations Convention on the Right of Persons with Disabilities. Article 24 is about disabled people’s right to education. It’s not surprising that this Article is one of the longest in the Disability Convention.

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Review of Special Education 2010 – discussion document released

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Review discussion document

The Government’s Review of Special Education began last year. Hon Heather Roy, the Minister responsible for Special Education, released the Terms of Reference for this review in August 2009.

On 3 February 2010, the Minister published the review discussion document, saying, “The Special Education Review document proposes a vision for students with special education needs, outlines how the system works currently and asks what needs to change. I urge parents, families, teachers, students, and the education and disability sectors to submit their views”.

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The current state of education for disabled students

There have been a number of analyses and reports into education for disabled people in New Zealand recently. Each has identified various issues and concerns.

The Office of the Ombudsman, the Office of the Children’s Commissioner, the Auditor-General and the Education Review Office have all made various findings, some of which are summarised here.

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Paul Gibson – Working for Better Health and Education

Paul Gibson

Paul Gibson

Paul Gibson has his work cut out for him. Working at the policy and strategic level, he’s tackling two of the biggest areas affecting disabled people’s lives: health and education.

Paul is the Senior Disability Advisor at Capital and Coast Health. He works to ensure DHBs, hospitals and health services are responsive to disabled people. “Some disabled people have health issues related to their impairment. When these are accounted for, disabled people have significantly worse health outcomes than non-disabled people,” says Paul.

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Te reo Māori translations of the Disability Convention

Hon. Tariana Turia

Hon. Tariana Turia

E hari katoa ana te ngākau o Tariana Turia i te putanga mai o te whakamaoritanga o te Te Kawenata a te Kotahitanga o ngā Whenua o te Ao mō ngā Tika Tangata ā te Hunga Hauā.

Last month, the Minister for Disability Issues, Hon Tariana Turia, announced the release of two te reo Māori translations of the Disability Convention. One is the official English text and the other is an easy read version.

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New CEO for DPA

Ross Brereton

Ross Brereton

A new chief executive officer has been appointed to lead the Disabled Persons Assembly Inc (DPA) – Ross Brereton.

Some people in the disability sector will be familiar with Ross from his 30 years of involvement in disability issues. “I’ve been part of the disability community all of my life, as I have a congenital visual impairment.”

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UNESCO frequently asked questions on the Disability Convention

The New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO recently published a new resource. It provides information in response to frequently asked questions about the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The information includes:

  • what are human rights?
  • what is a convention?
  • how does the convention work?

The resource is available in HTML and PDF on the UNESCO website.

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For more information about the Disability Rights, please contact Chris Potts at chrisp@hrc.co.nz

Further Information is also available from our website

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