Heads-up for Human Rights

*UPDATE: the UNCRPD's recommendations have been presented to the NZ Government, who have commented and passed on an implementation strategy to the relevant government agencies. Eight recommendations were relevant to people with FASD and their whānau – you can read our roundup about this here


After consultation hui with the public held in March, April and May in 2023, Aotearoa's human rights record was reviewed by the United Nations Human Rights Council – our fourth Universal Periodic Review.

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a five-yearly review by the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva that assesses New Zealand’s progress on a broad range of human rights issues.

"The UPR is an opportunity for the country to take stock of how well the government is protecting the human rights of people in Aotearoa," says Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt. "This includes how well local and central government are delivering on the right to a decent home, the rights to health care and health protection, and across the full spectrum of human rights and te Tiriti o Waitangi.”

The rights of disabled people was one of five priority areas identified for comment.

FASD-CAN and others have advocated for many years for the right to disability support for those with FASD. Disability Support Services are currently only available if there is a proven intellectual disability, where the IQ is below 70. This is often not the case for people with FASD, who can have an IQ within the normal range, but very low executive function, memory, impulse control etc – making financial support an essential requirement. 

This is seen as a breach of human rights under the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, and it was documented in a report to the Prime Minister, on September 9, 2021 – International FASD Awareness Day. It was presented by Judge Andrew Becroft, then Children’s Commissioner and Paula Tesoriero, then Commissioner for Disability. There has been NO significant change to improve the human rights of those with FASD since that time.

Disability support was also the subject of 2022’s review of New Zealand’s compliance with the UNCRPD (United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities). The recommendation of that review was that Enabling Good Lives (EGL) should be rolled out for those with FASD.