The Minister for Disability Issues Tariana Turia has announced that Robert Martin will be New Zealand’s candidate for the election in 2016 for the 2017 – 2020 term of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Minister Turia presented New Zealand’s statement to the Seventh Conference of States Parties on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in New York on 10 June 2014.
“I am very proud that New Zealand is demonstrating its commitment to inclusion of all disabled people by nominating a talented person with a learning disability to this committee. I believe that the diversity of Robert’s life experience plus his commitment to the rights of disabled people worldwide – make him a very strong candidate for the committee,” says Minister Turia.
“Robert has shown a strong commitment to the rights of people with a learning disability worldwide through his involvement with Inclusion International and as an advocate and international speaker on disability issues, particularly around areas such as independent living and supported decision making,” says Mrs Turia.
Robert was born with an intellectual disability and grew up in large institutions and foster homes. Since then, he has moved from a life with limited choice and control where people did many things for him, to making his own choices about the life he wishes to live. Robert now lives in his own home in Whanganui with his wife Lynda. He is very involved in his local community, particularly in sport as a soccer referee for young people and playing Golden Oldie’s rugby.
“I also believe that Robert’s nomination reinforces New Zealand’s commitment to the principles of the United Nations, first articulated in 1945, which sought a better world for all people. It is important not just for the success of this Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, but for the United Nations as a whole, that we include all people when we discuss human rights,” says Mrs Turia.