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Kiwi makes UN committee history

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 16/03/2017
Robert Martin © Twitter/NZ Mission to the UN Robert Martin

New Zealand disability rights activist Robert Martin will make history when he becomes the first person with an intellectual disability to sit on the UN Committee of Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Mr Martin, who grew up in an institution, will head to Geneva, Switzerland soon to begin his four year term on the committee.

Disability Issues Minister Nicky Wagner said Mr Martin had already had a positive impact on the committee, helping to broaden the United Nations' thinking on 'reasonable accommodations' which allow people with disabilities to participate on an equal basis.

"Ensuring reasonable accommodations are available at the UN will open the door for other disabled people to represent and be represented within the organisation," she said.

"This is another move toward achieving a non-disabling society - one where disabled people can have the support they need to live a good life in their workplace, home and community," she said.

Mr Martin's role will be as an independent expert monitoring nations' implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

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