Deaf Aotearoa Position Statement on Lived Experience

4 December 2022

General position

Deaf Aotearoa believes that the term ‘Lived Experience’ refers only to the direct experience of individuals. Deaf and disabled people understand first-hand what life is really like, and that they are in the best position to offer information and expertise on how to manage and improve their individual health and well as those with similar conditions and experiences.

The indirect experience of carers and/or family members of people with direct lived experience, including partners, close friends, and community support members is relevant and valuable. Deaf Aotearoa agrees that carers and/or family members, partners, close friends and community supporters are often crucial to the inclusion and protection of rights of disabled people as they too are experiencing what life is like for the disabled person as they care for them, and/or interact with them on a regular basis.

Everyone’s voice is relevant but the voice of disabled people is paramount.

Hearing the collective voice of Deaf and disabled people

As mandated by Article 4.3 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (excerpt below), Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) are the primary mechanism for hearing the voices of disabled people, and Deaf Aotearoa is the DPO for the Deaf community.

Deaf Aotearoa therefore affirms its position as the representative organisation to hear and share the collective voice of the Deaf community.

Article 4.3: In the development and implementation of legislation and policies to implement the present Convention, and in other decision-making processes concerning issues relating to persons with disabilities, States Parties shall closely consult with and actively involve persons with disabilities, including children with disabilities, through their representative organizations.

Adequate resourcing

Deaf Aotearoa concurs with the United Nations Committee on the rights of Persons with Disabilities concluding observations on the combined second and third periodic reports of New Zealand (excerpt below).

Deaf Aotearoa urges the Government to adequately resource the DPO Coalition to properly hear and share the lived experience of Deaf and disabled people in New Zealand.

United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities concluding observations on the combined second and third periodic reports of New Zealand

9 Sept 2022

The Committee is concerned about the lack of appropriate resourcing for organisations of persons with disabilities to build capacity to meaningfully engage in policy and legislation.

The Committee recommends that New Zealand ensures that organisations of persons with disabilities are appropriately resourced to build capacity to participate in partnership across government portfolio areas.

AND

The Committee is concerned about the lack of resources, including financial support available to support the Disabled People’s Organisation Coalition to fulfil its mandate as one partner on the IMM, including to engage broadly with the disability community, to participate in Convention implementation activities and fora with government agencies and other stakeholders and to effectively communicate with persons with disabilities.

The Committee recommends that New Zealand allocates adequate resources, including financial support to the Disabled People’s Organisations Coalition to enable it to effectively fulfil its mandate as one partner of the IMM.

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