‘Access to government services is a human right’ – Chief Human Rights Commissioner

‘Access to government services is a human right’ – Chief Human Rights Commissioner

February 27, 2020

Chief Human Rights Commissioner, Paul Hunt, warmly welcomes the release of the Face to Face with Digital Exclusion report from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB), today, and encourages the government to give its recommendations careful consideration. 

“Access to government services is a human right. The government has a legal obligation in its provision of public services to ensure that it does not exclude people from the services, rights and entitlements they are trying to access,” says Hunt.

“Many government services are particularly important for already-marginalised groups within the community: disabled people, Māori and Pacific people, elderly, and those for whom English is not a first language.”

“The government cannot exclude these groups by introducing digital-only services which are inaccessible or create unnecessary barriers to taxpayer-funded public rights and entitlements.”

Mr Hunt is concerned that CAB volunteer services are being used as a replacement for government providing accessible services which accommodate everyone including those who are not online. 

“This report gives voice to the stress, frustration and exclusion of many people when they try to engage with government. Full participation in society, including accessing government services such as passport or citizenship applications, is a human right. When designing government services, disadvantaged individuals and communities cannot be overlooked or left behind.”

“We encourage the government to consider the recommendations of this report and implement changes to support the human rights and well-being of everyone in society,” says Mr Hunt.

Click here to read the report.

Click here to read an accessible version of the report.