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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2 weeks ago

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A very happy birthday to our Master Carpenter, Klaus Elías. From all of the team in Mexico and Aotearoa, thank you for the dedication, patience, heart and soul you put into everything you do. We send you best wishes and a year filled with blessings and success. To read more about Elías, head to our website:

www.thelucyfoundation.com/team_member/elias-molina-arellanes/#more-10934

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2 weeks ago

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We love seeing your pics! Able Coffee Collaborative customer, Evan Clulee, sent us this photo of him enjoying his morning brew of TLF Pluma. Evan is a well known Kiwi para-athlete, who made his Paralympic debut in wheelchair racing at Barcelona in 1992 (breaking NZ records!). Like us, Evan is also passionate about equal employment opportunities for disabled people (and coffee of course). Thanks for your ongoing support Evan! Cheers!

Buy your disability inclusive coffee now: www.thelucyfoundation.com/help-us-out/

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[Image description: Evan at home, holding a coffee mug. In front of him is a coffee bag branded TLF Pluma. Evan is contented, wears glasses and a blue hoodie with orange trim. He holds up a mug of coffee.]
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4 weeks ago

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Good news... a couple of days ago TLF Director, Catalina, managed to leave the village and travel two hours to the coast to collect supplies for the families we partner with. Those are some happy faces! Still no reported cases of Covid-19 in Pluma Hidalgo, but locals continue to stay home, save lives, and sort coffee.

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4 weeks ago

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Thank you to everyone who supported our Mother’s Day colab with Downlights and Able Coffee Collaborative - we have now officially sold out!

Were you a recipient of a bundle? We would love to hear from you... share a photo of how you're enjoying your inclusive coffee and candle and we'll post it to our stories!

In other news, we've also just heard that Downlights have extended their equity crowdfunding campaign, so there's still time to become an investor in their amazing candle company!

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[Image description: On the left is a small white box with gold lettering that says, "Downlights New Zealand bamboo and white lily". On the right is a bag of coffee with the TFL and Able logo with inclusive artwork featuring diverse people. The label reads, "Thank you for all you Brew for me, enjoy your Lucy Blend". In the background is a pink Moccamaster coffee machine.]
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