24 Oct 2012

Report scathing of treatment of disabled

5:57 pm on 24 October 2012

A new report on the rights of disabled people in New Zealand is highly critical of their treatment by private and government organisations.

It says their human rights are not recognised in many areas, creating barriers that keep them isolated and vulnerable.

The United Nations Convention Coalition's report funded by the Ministry of Social Development says discrimination against the disabled is widespread and extends to health services, transport and work opportunities.

One of its authors Pam MacNeill, who is blind, says there has been little improvement since the last report on disabled people's human rights in 2010.

Ms MacNeill says despite one in five New Zealanders having a disability, the report shows a lack of awareness and a negative attitude towards disabled people that creates barriers and prevents them from having equal rights to able-bodied people.

She says the Government needs to review disability laws to ensure that they comply more fully with disabled people's human rights.

Richard Stephens suffers from chronic depression and anxiety and says the report validates his experience of hitting barriers when he tries to seek support and find employment.

The coalition includes the Disabled Persons Assembly, Blind Citizens New Zealand and Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand.