Earlier this month, United Nations member states made recommendations to improve human rights in New Zealand. There were 194 recommendations. Seventeen of the recommendations were specifically about disability.
The recommendations have been published in a draft report. These will be finalised and presented to the New Zealand Government to accept or note. Once accepted they will become part of New Zealand’s National Plan of Action.
Here are the recommendations made to the New Zealand Government about disability. The country that made the recommendation is listed at the end of each recommendation.
- Continue to work to fully harmonize national law with the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Chile)
- Pursue and implement the Zero Carbon Bill and the Environmental Health Action Plan, having taken into account the special vulnerabilities, views and needs of women, children, youth, persons with disabilities, and local and marginalised communities (Fiji)
- Increase employment opportunities for marginalized groups, and notably Māori, Pasifika, women and disabled persons (Hungary)
- Address discrimination in employment against indigenous persons, individuals belonging to ethnic minority groups, and individuals with disabilities, including those with intellectual disabilities, and remove barriers to their participation in the labour market in addition to funding further community support services, to include post-learning opportunities (United States of America)
- Continue its efforts in order to further the protection of Economic and Social Rights of vulnerable persons, including persons with disabilities (Greece)
- Continue its efforts in increasing the availability of quality affordable housing and to ensure equitable housing for the elderly, persons with disabilities, and all ethnic groups (State of Palestine)
- Enhance mental health policies with a view to guaranteeing that persons with mental health conditions and psychosocial disabilities have access to appropriate mental health services, including community-based care, which respect their dignity and human rights (Brazil)
- Take immediate steps to combat solitary and solitary confinement in medical facilities applied to juveniles, persons with intellectual or psychosocial disabilities, pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers in prison and in all health care institutions (Syrian Arab Republic)
- Continue to strengthen efforts to combat domestic and all forms of gender-based violence, including sexual violence, particularly in relation to Māori and Pasifika women and girls, as well as women and girls with disabilities (Iceland)
- Work to combat discrimination against vulnerable children, including Māori and Pasifika children, children belonging to ethnic minorities, refugee and migrant children and children with disabilities (Syrian Arab Republic)
- Continue its efforts to extend welfare services and assistance to all persons with disabilities (Bulgaria)
- Continue its efforts in implementing legislation and strategies to promote and protect the rights of children and young people and persons with disabilities (Philippines)
- Harmonize its national legislation on the rights of persons with disabilities, especially in relation to inclusive education, with international standards (Peru)
- Strengthen efforts to combat marginalization and discrimination of children with disabilities, especially in their access to health, education, care and protection services (Belgium)
- Grant children with disabilities the right to quality inclusive education and to increase the provision of reasonable accommodation in primary and secondary education in line with international standards (Portugal)
- Continue the development of inclusive education programs for children with disabilities (France)
- Respect the rights of persons with mental health conditions and psychosocial disabilities in line with the Convention on the Rights of Persons A/HRC/WG.6/32/L.1 12 with Disabilities, including by combatting institutionalization, stigma, violence and overmedicalization, and by developing community-based and people-centred mental health services which promote inclusion in the community and respect their free and informed consent (Portugal)
The Human Rights Commission made their own submission to the United Nations member states in a pre-session last year alongside other civil society organisations.
Pre-sessions are a standard part of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). They enable National Human Rights Institutions, such as the Commission, and civil society organisations from the countries being reviewed to talk directly with representatives of the United Nations (UN) member states conducting reviews.
At the pre-session, the acting Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero addressed delegates of UN member states in attendance.
In October, the Human Rights Commission also facilitated an in-country pre-session in Wellington. The pre-session was attended by representatives from over 30 diplomatic embassies, who heard from a panel of 13 civil society organisations, each addressing a diverse range of human rights challenges facing New Zealand. The process was observed by over 60 civil society attendees.
A list of the panel organisations, as well as copies of their advocacy fact sheets and presentations is available here.
The full Human Rights Commission submission on New Zealand’s third universal periodic review is available here.
The full list of recommendations is available here.