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NZer 'smashes' way onto UN panel

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 14/06/2016

In a world first a New Zealander has been elected to the United Nations body which monitors countries treatment of people with disabilities.

Robert Martin was chosen for the 18-strong UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at UN headquarters in New York on Wednesday morning (NZT).

"Robert's election is a milestone achievement for all people with disabilities, he is the first person with a learning disability to stand for and be elected to a UN committee," New Zealand Disabilities Rights Commissioner Paul Gibson said.

Mr Martin hadn't just smashed through a glass ceiling, "he's smashed through the ceiling and walls of institutions that locked him away for most of his early years", Mr Gibson said.

"Every New Zealander can be proud of his incredible achievement today."

Mr Martin, who has an intellectual disability, is a prominent disability rights advocate.

He was nominated for the UN role by the government.

The UN panel monitors how well countries are implementing the Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities.

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