July, 2010
ISSN 1174-9245
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Message from the Chief Commissioner

Rosslyn Noonan Chief Human Rights Commissioner

Rosslyn Noonan Chief Human Rights Commissioner

EEO Commissioner Dr Judy McGregor will be leading the Human Rights Commission’s work on the rights of disabled people for the year ahead. This is a priority area for me as Chief Commissioner. I will be working alongside Judy and continuing to be actively involved. We will be supported by Commissioner Richard Tankersley. We have asked him, as a first priority, to assist with the establishment of a network of Maori disabled people to ensure a strong indigenous dimension to the Commission’s work on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Richard will also work on the establishment of a Pacific Group.

A further signal of the priority the Commission places on this work is the high level staff involvement, including Executive Director, Joanna Collinge; Manager Strategic Policy Susan Freeman Greene; Manager External Relations, Shae Ronald; Kaiwhakariti Hemi Pirihi; and of course, Senior Monitoring & Evaluation Advisor, Bruce Coleman and Victoria Manning, Advisor.

We will keep you up to date as we develop plans for engagement throughout New Zealand.

R Noonan's signature

Rosslyn Noonan

Power to the people…

Judy McGregor EEO commissioner

Dr Judy McGregor EEO commissioner

Congratulations to People First NZ and the other members of the public who fought and won a battle over broadcaster Paul Henry calling singer Susan Boyle a “retard”. The Commission is delighted that the Broadcasting Standards Authority’s (BSA) very strong decision recognised that people with intellectual disabilities deserved respect and dignity. That’s the good news.

Television New Zealand broadcast a prepared statement on the Breakfast programme on Monday 26 July. And that’s the bad news. In my opinion, the nature of the statement was profoundly disappointing. Television New Zealand abandoned its celebrity status promotion of presenters and referred throughout to an unnamed “presenter”. There was no apology and nor was the statement available on its website content.

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Visiting expert has message for disabled people

Professor Ron McCallum

Professor Ron McCallum

A visiting United Nations expert wants disabled people to put pressure on the Government to implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Governments are responsible for making sure the Disability Convention is implemented, but government action depends on disabled people voicing their desires. “We are each responsible to make sure the Disability Convention happens,” said Professor Ron McCallum, the Chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, on a recent visit to New Zealand hosted by the Human Rights Commission.

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More funding for monitoring the Disability Convention

Hon Tariana Turia Minister for Disability Issues

Hon Tariana Turia Minister for Disability Issues

The Human Rights Commission will receive an extra $300,000 per year to promote, protect and monitor the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The Minister for Disability Issues, Tariana Turia, attended a disability community meeting at the Human Rights Commission to make a special Budget day announcement on 20th May.

The extra funding will enable the Commission to increase its advocacy for disabled people’s rights. It will help enable the Commission to act as an independent, public advocate to promote awareness of disabled people’s rights and help monitor the Disability Convention.

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Haere rā to Commissioner Robyn Hunt

Robyn Hunt

Robyn Hunt

Robyn Hunt’s term as a part-time Commissioner finished at the end of June. Over the years, Robyn has made a huge contribution to the Commission and to improving rights for disabled New Zealanders.

“As Commissioner over the last eight years, I have been very lucky to have taken part in the ground-breaking development and New Zealand’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities,” Robyn says. “I was privileged to have this opportunity and it was an amazing experience.”

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Review of human rights in New Zealand 2010 – Arotakenga o ngā tika tangata i Aotearoa 2010

hrc-review-of-human-rights-picThe Commission is reviewing human rights in New Zealand. In 2004, the Commission published Human Rights in New Zealand Today, which formed the basis for the New Zealand Action Plan for Human Rights 2005-2010 – Mana i ki te Tangata. The action plan has led the direction of the Commission’s work as a human rights guardian and advocate.

The Commission is now checking on progress. Where has New Zealand done well and where could the country do better to ensure a fair, safe and just society?

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Deaf education discussion

The Ministry of Education (the Ministry) is considering ways to improve specialist education services for deaf and hearing impaired children and young people.

The Human Rights Commission made a submission on the Ministry’s Deaf Education Discussion. The Commission supports Deaf Education Aotearoa New Zealand’s view that current education services are not integrated and equitable.

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Whānau Hauā (Māori disabled) engagement

The Human Rights Commission is continuing work to help make sure whānau hauā, Māori disabled people, are involved in implementing and monitoring the Disability Convention.

If you are interested in this work or would like to be added to the Commission’s Māori Disabled contact list, please email Bruce Coleman BruceC@hrc.co.nz or Victoria Manning VictoriaM@hrc.co.nz or phone Bruce on (03) 353 0952.

Asia Pacific OutGames 2011

outgames-pic-july-2010As an integral part of the Asia Pacific OutGames March 2011, in Wellington, the organisers are hosting a three-day human rights conference.

Expressions of interest are sought from people who have proposals to contribute to the conference. This could include showcasing work, organising a presentation, or being part of a panel discussion. For more information, go to the OutGames website: www.wellingtonoutgames.com.

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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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