Community Scoop
Network

Inquiry must seek out and engage with affected communities

Press Release – Inclusive NZ

We continue to see poorer mental health outcomes for Maori, Pacific, Disabled people, migrants, refugees and other vulnerable groups. This has a long term impact on affected people and often prevents them from fully participating in society and realising …We continue to see poorer mental health outcomes for Maori, Pacific, Disabled people, migrants, refugees and other vulnerable groups. This has a long term impact on affected people and often prevents them from fully participating in society and realising their rights.

Inclusive NZ welcomes the inquiry into mental health and addiction by the Government. The terms of reference released by the Government last week provide for a broad inquiry into mental health and addiction services. “It is particularly pleasing to see express recognition of Māori, Pacific people, refugees, LGBTIQ, the elderly and other vulnerable groups, and a focus on equity of access in the terms of reference” says CEO Michael White.

The terms of reference provide for specific consultation with Māori. While this is a crucial element of the inquiry and reflects the importance of the Treaty partnership, it is important that other groups and sectors be proactively consulted as well. It is also important that other less visible groups are not overlooked.

For example, there are significant gaps in mental health services for asylum claimants. Not only have many asylum claimants suffered trauma and have existing mental health issues, their mental health is further compromised by the fact that they have minimal income, no family support, no certainty about their future and have to wait in limbo for months on end. Unlike those who come to New Zealand under the annual Resettlement Quota, mental health services for asylum claimants, Convention Refugees and those who arrive under the Refugee Family Reunification Category are limited. Refugees as Survivors New Zealand work with asylum claimants who have been released on conditions to the Mangere Accommodation Centre. However, services are not routinely available to asylum claimants in the community or in detention. It is important to ensure that appropriate mental health services are available and accessible on an ongoing basis for all asylum claimants and those from refugee backgrounds.

Inclusive NZ would have liked to have seen an explicit commitment to specific consultation with all affected communities and their representatives.

“While the terms of reference correctly identify the need to take into account New Zealand’s obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, it does not reference the other equally important binding legal obligations New Zealand has accepted under other human rights treaties (such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child)” says Michael White. “The inquiry should be founded on Te Tiriti and all New Zealand’s international and domestic human rights obligations in order to provide a robust framework to assess the accessibility, appropriateness (including cultural appropriateness) and adequacy of current mental health and addiction services.”

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
Original url