Monday, September 5, 2011

New Zealand Human Rights Commission Appoints First Commissioner with Specific Responsibility for Disability

The Human Rights Commission last week announced the appointment of Paul Gibson as the first Commissioner with formal responsibility for disability issues. Paul Gibson previously worked as the senior disability advisor at Capital and Coast Health. And was President of the Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA) in addition to working for CCS Disability Action. According to the New Zealand Human Rights Commission “ Along with his work with diverse disabled people, Paul’s own lived experience of disability drives his passion for the rights of all people. He is partially blind and accesses information using Braille and adaptive technology.” See here.

The new role will involve working with other organisations in monitoring the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Paul Gibson was a member of the New Zealand Disability Strategy Sector Reference Group was one of the five people advising the Government on the Review of Special Education. He has been a key figure in initiating the reform of disability support. He helped establish the NZ Disability Support Network, the Carer’s Alliance, and Achieve, the national post- secondary education disability network. He is a member of the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind, the Association of Blind Citizens, and Ngati Kapo, and has been involved in Treaty educator networks. He has been involved in age care and mental health consumer issues.

Paul Gibson is due to take up his post on 26 September – the third anniversary of the date New Zealand ratified the CRPD.