Heads-up for Human Rights

Aotearoa is heading towards a review of its human rights record at the United Nations Human Rights Council – its fourth Universal Periodic Review.

"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 is one of the 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 breach of human rights under the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities 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.

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.

We now have a further chance to raise this issue nationally and internationally.

A series of national public hui are underway in April/May 2023, at which anyone can raise the subject of human rights of those with FASD. Our Chair, Leigh Henderson, spoke at the Wellington one recently. Further details of these hui are on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) website here (however, places at these hui have been snapped up and all are now full except for Rotorua).

There are also TWO online hui you can attend:

There are public face-to-face hui happening currently across the motu, but nearly all places have now been taken – however, two online webinars are just announced.
Register on the links below.
Following these hui, MFAT will develop a draft national report, which will be available for public feedback in mid-2023, ahead of final submission to the UN in February 2024. You can provide written submissions by email to the Human Rights Commission requesting that they include the issue of the human rights of those with FASD in their report, which they will send directly to the UPR (click here for more info).

We will let you know when it will be possible to submit on the draft report, and provide some guidance on how to do it and what to say. Please help us to keep this extremely important issue front of mind by participating if you can!