Blog: Erin takes on NY (and the UN!)

A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to get to travel to the United Nations in New York for the tenth annual Conference of States Parties (also known as COSP). The conference brings together advocates, academics and government representatives from around the world to discuss progress on implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (or the CRPD).

Every year, there are a wide range of topics discussed that fit within three themes. This year, those were:

  • “Leaving No-One Behind”: Addressing multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination within the disability community
  • Situations of Risk and Humanitarian Emergencies
  • Inclusive Urban Development and Implementation of the New Urban Agenda (Habitat III)

Some of the discussion on these themes took place in one big group, General Assembly style, but parallel to this, there were more than 50 90-minute side sessions on different topics. Unfortunately, it was impossible for me to get to all of them, but I attended sessions about disabled women’s rights, mental health, disaster risk management in the Asia Pacific region, barriers faced by young people with disabilities and ensuring access to justice and equality before the law.

While these sessions are interesting in themselves, a real highlight of participating was getting the opportunity to contribute my own human rights expertise and experience and interacting with very knowledgeable people. For example, I got to ask the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Canadian Minister of Disability Issues, how more disabled people can be encouraged to go into politics, and I got to share my experience of the Christchurch earthquakes and the subsequent rebuild at another session.

Another highlight was getting to read a three-minute statement to the plenary on behalf of the New Zealand Human Rights Commission, who I work for.

In it, I called on governments and civil society organisations to listen to the voices of young disabled people as the generation inheriting the world in its current state. I said that I expect the world will be better tomorrow because of the work we do today.

I think this resonates well with the mission of The Lucy Foundation (TLF). At its core, the Foundation is a group of young people trying to make the world better through sustainable trade alongside many other groups. Founder Robbie was hoping to also attend COSP, but unfortunately had to wait for TLF to be accredited before she could do so.

Now that that has happened, I’m excited about the contribution TLF can make to future COSPs. Discussion of social enterprise, sustainable trade and the involvement of people with disabilities didn’t really feature this year, but is a real emerging area in business and human rights to which TLF and others could add real value.

Bring on COSP 2018!


Erin Gough is a Human Rights Specialist at New Zealand Human Rights Commission in Wellington, New Zealand. She has a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.), Human Rights Laws, from the University of Canterbury and is also on The Lucy Foundation Board of Trustees. 


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10 hours ago

The Lucy Foundation

Yesterday Robbie Francis Watene took part in an online discussion with our friends from the New Zealand Red Cross about issues that arise during emergencies or crisis situations that threaten the dignity, access, participation and safety of the affected population. Ka rawe! Check it out:

Live Online Discussion: Inequalities through a Looking Glass

Support human rights by donating or purchasing your coffee through the TLF website now: www.thelucyfoundation.com/help-us-out
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Our community garden is coming to life! While greenhouse construction continues, we’ve also been working on growing veggies. This has included preparing pots for seedlings, sewing vegetable seeds (beans), and planting seedlings (eggplant, cucumber, peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, chives and chilli).

Today the crew also took some chilli and tomato seedlings to plant at home.

We need your help! To support the Pluma Coffee Project you can now donate by credit card or bank transfer: www.thelucyfoundation.com/donate/

#Greenhouse #OrganicVegetables #CommunityGarden #DisabilityInclusion #DisabilityRights #EnvironmentalRegeneration
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5 days ago

The Lucy Foundation

How’s this for an interesting workshop: creative cooking, fermentation and probiotic foods!! Catalina, our Field Director, recently ran a Track Two disability workshop, teaching the guys how to make sauerkraut (fermented cabbage). It went so well, that the team decided to host a Track One disability-led community workshop, and invite all the neighbours so they can learn too!

Why do we ferment foods? To help preserve them, change the flavour, increase nutritional value and develop probiotic power. Healthy team = healthy beans! Buen provecho (enjoy)!

#DisabilityLed #Probiotics #FermentedFoods #DisabilityInclusion

[Video description: A series of photos and videos of Juan, Pepe and Herminio making saueur kraut, and then community members making fermented foods. Washing and preparing vegetables, massaging salt into the vegetablles, placing in jars, adding liquid, shaking the jars, smiling with finished jars.]
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We are incredibly proud to announce that TLF has been named the recipient of the 2020 Rotary Kickstart Grant. Supported by Ākina Foundation, the grant provides seed capital for social enterprises in the North Island. On Wednesday night Robbie Francis Watene and Simone (TLF co-founders) pitched our world-first inclusive value chain of coffee to a room full of Rotarians and supporters, who then voted for TLF as the winning social enterprise.

Thank you to the Rotary Club of Newmarket Inc, Auckland New Zealand, Ākina Foundation, and also our friends at Recreate NZ (2019 winners) for all your support. To try some of our delicious coffee, head to:
www.thelucyfoundation.com/help-us-out

#socialenterprise #disabilityrights #disabilityemployment #PlumaCoffeeProject #BuyGoodDoGood
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