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Viewing entries tagged with 'human rights'

We're concerned about the stories we are hearing – Disability Commissioner

Posted by Philip on 24 February 2016, 1:22 pm in , , , , ,

The Human Rights Commission's (HRC) Disability Commissioner, Paul Gibson, replied to me today regarding Immigration NZ (INZ) and its discriminatory stance against migrants with unique function/disability/access needs. He said the HRC is concerned about the stories it is hearing and is aware that the actions of INZ contravene United Nations' principles. (Refer to my previous posts here and here.)

In the HRC's monitoring of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), which it does as part of the Independent Monitoring Mechanism (IMM) along with the Ombudsman and the Convention Coalition of Disabled People’s Organisations, he said, "we haven't given much attention to date to article 18 on freedom of movement and nationality, which specifically mentions immigration. We will be mentioning it to our IMM partners when we meet next week, and to the Office of Disability issues and Minister of Disability Issues in upcoming meetings."

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Open letter to the Disability Commissioner about disability-related discrimination by Immigration New Zealand

Posted by Philip on 18 February 2016, 4:35 pm in , , ,

Last Sunday I emailed Paul Gibson, Disability Commissioner at the Human Rights Commission about two recent cases of disability-related discrimination by Immigration New Zealand. I've had no reply so I thought I'd make it an open letter. Please feel free to use this as a template to also email Paul — paulg@hrc.co.nz

Dear Paul

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RainbowYOUTH turns 25

Posted by Philip on 19 November 2014, 8:25 pm in , , , , , , , , , , , ,

RainbowYOUTH logo with birthday hatUnfortunately I was unable unable to attend tonight's 25th reunion of RainbowYOUTH, "a charitable organisation providing support, information, advocacy and education for queer and trans* young people (aged between 13 and 28), their friends and Whānau, and those who work with queer and trans* youth."

Having had the honour of being their patron for the last few years I asked for a few words to be read on my behalf.  

Kia ora koutou. Happy 25th birthday RainbowYOUTH. My apologies for not being able to be here in person to address you this evening.

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The most offensive part of this meme is its spelling!

Posted by Philip on 13 August 2014, 11:24 am in , , , , , , ,

George Takei, Star Trek's inimitable Mr Sulu, has been chastised by disability rights activists for posting a Facebook meme.

Said meme depicts, from behind, a woman standing from her wheelchair to reach a bottle of (presumably) wine, with the words, "There has been a miracle in the alcohol isle [sic]."

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The sport of coming out

Posted by Philip on 15 July 2014, 6:56 am in , , , , , , , ,

Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe is the latest in a long line of sports "stars" to come out as gay in an interview with celebrity interviewer Sir Michael Parkinson. It seems to be a sport in itself these days: to play professional sport and reveal that you're gay.

Or perhaps a better sport might be to place bets on who will be next. David Beckham? Too good to be true.

But the real question — or the bigger conversation we're not having — is about the "casual homophobia", as Kath and Kim actor and out lesbian comedian Magda Szubanski puts it, in sport that stops people like Thorpe coming out — or never having to "go in" in the first place.

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Child's medical treatment highlights tension between principles and reality

Posted by Philip on 19 May 2014, 12:13 pm in , , , ,

Charley and her mumMy attention was drawn this morning to this TVNZ Sunday segment about Charley, the girl with significant brain damage due to medical misadventure at birth. Her parents opted for the "Ashley Treatment", hormone therapy that will keep her small and infertile for her whole life.

The parents' decision has had human rights advocates, ethics comittees and open-minded medical professionals at loggerheads. Does the treatment breach her human rights or will it allow her to be cared for by her parents and avoid a family history of heavy menstral bleeding and pain?

I can see both sides. I think it's the sort of issue that gets polarised. As Charley's mum said, it shouldn't be easy to do and I think the scrutiny is important to ensure people's rights aren't run roughshod over. While I share some of the concerns relating to human rights and ethics (many have fought long and hard to secure them), I don't think for one minute these parents should be demonised for wanting to protect their daughter from discomfort and possible institutionalised care as she grows.

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The one thing most #employers get wrong about #recruitment (and it's potentially #unlawful)

Posted by Philip on 6 May 2014, 10:13 am in , , , , , , , , ,

paper-money-people-Twice in the last week I've been confronted by the issue of asking employment applicants whether they have any health or disability-related needs or requirements. First at a Human Resources Institute diversity event; and then on the application form for a part-time position I have applied for.

The practice seems quite prevalent among employers, who seem unaware that it is a potential breach of human rights. Based on the four years I spent working for the Human Rights Commission, let me explain the problems, risks and solutions. 

The problem

Section 23 of the NZ Human Rights Act 1993 states:

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Open letter to Hon Tariana Turia, Nikki Kaye and Jacinda Ardern about the Public Health and Disability Amendment Bill

Posted by Philip on 20 May 2013, 3:19 pm in , , ,

Amend as follows:

Dear Hon Tariana Turia, [your MP] and [if appropriate your local Labour MP]

Copy and paste bold text.

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Is the Health Ministry breaching children's rights?

Posted by Philip on 22 September 2012, 1:19 pm in , , , ,

The current Ministry of Health Consultation on Paying Family Carers to Provide Disability Support 2012 considers "options for paying family carers providing disability support to disabled adult family members" (my emphasis).

I am concerned that this seems to exclude family carers providing disability support to disabled children.

I believe the omission of the needs of children, under current policy and in this consultation, is negligent for the following reasons:

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Disabled children worth less than luggage...

Posted by Philip on 8 March 2012, 7:46 pm in , ,

I'm furious about the Campbell Live story about the bus driver who left a family's disabled son sitting in his wheelchair in the school bus, for four and a half hours.

Read more: http://www.3news.co.nz/Disabled-child-left-in-school-bus-for-hours/tabid/817/articleID/245707/Default.aspx#ixzz1oVPEOHcP

The Kawerau family rightly observed that the driver and bus company treated the boy like forgotten luggage.

The NZ Government has the same attitude. It is currently lodging a second appeal against the Human Rights Tribunal decision that the Ministry of Health is breaching the Human Rights Act by not resourcing families to support their disabled children; as well as prosecuting parents who received funding from MoH contracted providers.

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