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The Conference of State Parties

The Director of the ODI was granted the opportunity to attend the Conference of State Parties at the United Nations with the Minister for Disability Issues, Hon Carmel Sepuloni, in New York.

By Brian Coffey, Director of the Office for Disability Issues

The Minister and I represented the Government, and with Disabled Peoples Organisations (DPO) representatives and Paula Tesoriero our Human Rights Commissioner also in attendance, New Zealand was well represented.  Robert Martin was also in attendance in his UN Committee role and I was honoured to share in a panel discussion with Robert on the topic of de-institutionalisation.

The series of meetings provided a fantastic opportunity to learn how other countries are making the convention a reality, and provide a New Zealand perspective on how we are implementing the Convention on the Rights for Persons with Disabilities.

A further highlight of the visit was attending Raglan Artist Yaniv Janson’s “Please Do Touch” art exhibition at the UN, which was supported by a grant from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The paintings illustrate the world where the United Nation’s sustainable goals have been achieved and the world if those goals are not achieved. Many people attending the exhibition were as interested in Yaniv’s lived experience of disability as much as the impressive paintings. Read more at http://odi.govt.nz/whats-happening/new-zealand-artist-yaniv-janson-to-exhibit-at -the-un-in-june/   That webpage includes pictures of Yaniv with his art works.

I also took the opportunity to spend an extremely useful few days in Canada. I met with officials in Toronto to learn first-hand about Accessibility Legislation in Ontario. I then met with the Canadian Office for Disability Issues in Ottawa and was fortunate enough to be there on the day that Accessibility Legislation was tabled in the Federal Government’s House of Commons.

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