Media Release: BPW NZ calls for the government to fully implement international conventions for disabled people

The New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW NZ) urges the Government to do more for disabled New Zealanders, especially disabled women, by fully implementing international conventions.

New Zealand has signed and ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities but has not signed the Optional Protocol for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which allows individuals to complain and report breaches internationally.  New Zealand has also signed and ratified CEDAW (UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Violence Against Women) and its Optional Protocol, including General Recommendation 18 on Disabled Women, but has not yet provided information on disabled women and measures taken for their particular situation in their periodic CEDAW reports.

“The International Day of Persons with Disabilities highlights the issues facing the disabled and those who are women are especially vulnerable,” says Vicky Mee, President, BPW New Zealand.

“Women with disabilities face more discrimination and disempowerment in their workplaces and communities than their able-bodied counterparts.

“We urge the Government to fully implement the international conventions that cover disabled women to ensure their rights are protected.

“Women with disabilities need the ability to hold the Government to account through the process of the optional protocols.  They also need statistical data to be kept so that progress can be tracked on access to education, employment, health and community involvement.

“The NZ Government has ratified both conventions and the CEDAW optional protocol so it would now be fitting, as the first country to give women the vote, to empower our women with disabilities in this way.

“We look forward to seeing action,” says Mrs Mee.

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