Minister addresses Pacific Conference on Disability

Minister for Disability Issues Carmel Sepuloni will speak today about the shared challenges and opportunities faced by disabled people across New Zealand and the Pacific, at the Pacific Regional Conference on Disability in Fiji.

“The rights of disabled people are a priority for New Zealand’s international human rights engagement. New Zealand has a well-established leadership role internationally in promoting the rights of disabled people, dating back to our involvement in negotiating the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

“In the last five years, Pacific Island countries have strengthened their commitment to tackle issues faced by disabled people, this includes a regional plan, but significant challenges remain. 

“In the Pacific, more than 17 percent of people have disabilities. Women and girls with disabilities are up to three times more likely to experience sexual abuse and violence than females without disabilities. 

“In New Zealand, disabled women and children, have a higher risk of experiencing family violence and sexual violence than people without a disability. Their experiences of family violence include preventing access to medical treatment, failing to provide basic needs, social isolation, erratic care and attention and taking away necessary aids such as wheelchairs.

“This conference provides a great platform for us to progress the promotion of disabled people’s rights across the Pacific. To share about challenges and progress and how we ensure that people with disabilities are involved in the decision making and co-design process,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

The Sixth Pacific Regional Conference on Disability is in Nadi, Fiji and runs from 25 February until 1 March 2019.

The host organisation, the Pacific Disability Forum, is the leading regional organisation in the Pacific on disability issues.