Disabled people bring creativity to helping tackle social problems, says Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero.
“We are problem-solving every day. Our views add diversity and creativity.”
“We need to be included in decision-making on any issue that impacts our lives, nothing about us, without us.”
The theme for the 2019 International Day of Persons with Disabilities is ‘Promoting the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership: taking action on the 2030 Development Agenda’.
The goals cover issues such as equality of education, access to health, employment, the elimination of poverty, and gender equality. New Zealand has committed to working on the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Societies will never achieve the SDGs without including disabled people in tackling the issues, says Tesoriero.
“I call on all influencers to create space for the voices of disabled people, and a place at the decision-making tables.”
“We can't afford to ignore or marginalise the contributions of 1 in 4 New Zealanders - more than 1 million New Zealanders - in realising these goals. Nothing about us without us.”
The SDGs come with the slogan ‘Leave No-one Behind’ yet in New Zealand, disabled people are further behind other population groups across many social issues – high unemployment rates, lack of adequate housing, low incomes, poor education outcomes, and higher rates of experiencing abuse and violence.
“Disabled people understand what's needed to change these outcomes and can offer enduring solutions if they are included in decision-making.”
The ‘Enabling Good Lives’ partnership between government agencies and disabled people is one example of a program that reflects this approach. The Disability Action Plan 2019-2023 is another example of disabled people partnering and shaping policy that affects them.
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