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Communtity Law Manual | Disability rights | Key ideas and phrases in the Disability Convention

Rights that are recognised internationally: The UN Disability Convention

Key ideas and phrases in the Disability Convention

How the Disability Convention defines “disabled people”

UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Article 2 (Definitions)

“Disabled people” is defined in the UN Disability Convention as meaning “people who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others”.

New Zealand Disability Strategy 2016–2026

New Zealand’s Disability Strategy 2016–2026 has adopted that same definition of “disabled people”.

“Reasonable accommodation”

UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Art 2 (Definitions); New Zealand Disability Strategy 2016–2026

“Reasonable accommodation” is a central idea in both the UN Disability Convention and New Zealand’s anti-discrimination laws in the Human Rights Act 1993.

In the Convention, it means making “necessary and appropriate modifications and adjustments not imposing a disproportionate or undue burden, where needed in a particular case, to ensure to persons with disabilities the enjoyment or exercise on an equal basis with others of all human rights and fundamental freedoms”.

New Zealand’s Disability Strategy adopts the same definition of the term.

It’s about employers, shops, transport companies and so on making active adjustments to their facilities and services so that you have equal access in those areas of life. We explain this in more detail throughout this chapter.

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