- May 3, 2024

It is with profound sadness and a heavy heart that the International Disability Alliance mourns the loss of Sir Robert George Martin, member of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities from 2017. In 2020, he was re-elected for another 4-year term on the CRPD Committee. At the time of his passing, Sir Robert was still active in his role on the Committee.

"Sir Robert Martin was a true leader and an inspiration to so many of us in the disability movement. His achievements in influencing the negotiations of the CRPD and in his time as a CRPD Committee member showed how Sir Robert was able to not only break down barriers but also build bridges. His life was a testament to how through the power of human rights principles and solidarity, those marginalized and institutionalized could transcend the human rights violations they suffered, and help to build a better future for all. We will remember Sir Robert for his achievements, courage and ability to inspire us all of us to uphold the values of equality, autonomy, independence and inclusion.” – José Viera, Executive Director, International Disability Alliance

Sir Robert made history as the first person with a learning disability elected onto a United Nations treaty body, when he was elected to the Committee for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. He will be remembered as one of the great leaders of the disability movement in New Zealand, and a trailblazing presence on the CRPD Committee. 

Sir Robert’s legacy of activism and advocacy will endure as we continue to fight for the right to independent living for all persons with disabilities around the world. Rest in power, Sir Robert.