People with disability tell United Nations about abuse, discrimination

People with disability from across Australia will today tell the United Nations in Geneva about our lives, and whether Australia is meeting its obligations to fulfil our rights under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

“Today, I’ll be telling the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN Committee) that we have to stop locking up Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability,” said Damian Griffis, delegation co-lead and mentor, and CEO of First Peoples Disability Network.

“We know that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability aren’t getting access to the supports we need, and all too often, end up in prison indefinitely when they haven’t been convicted of a crime.”

The delegation of seven people with disability will give evidence to the UN Committee from the Civil Society Shadow Report Disability Rights Now 2019 from 5pm Australian Eastern Standard Time. Disability Rights Now 2019 was produced by people with disability and covers in detail what progress Australia is making at making our rights real.

“Too many people with disability are shut out of work and live in poverty,” said Judy Huett, delegation co-lead and mentor from Speak Out Tasmania.

“As well, most people with disability (61%), that we surveyed to help inform our Report, said they couldn’t afford, or get access to the disability support they need. Many people with disability die decades younger than people without disability.”

“The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) was raised as a major concern by survey respondents. People with disability emphasised how hard it is to access the NDIS, how difficult the NDIS is to use, and about long waits for advocacy to help with the process,” said Mr Griffis.

“I’ve advocated for a long time that people with disability need to be living in the community, and not institutions, and be able to live safely and free from all forms of violence. These are just some of the issues we will be talking to the United Nations about,” said Ms Huett.

“Damian and I were part of the 2013 delegation for the first UN review of Australia, and we are proud to have a lead role in mentoring and supporting the work of the 2019 delegation.”

“The upcoming Royal Commission, and the review of the National Disability Strategy, are both opportunities for the Australian Government to listen to what we are telling the UN Committee about the urgent issues for people with disability,” said Mr Griffis.

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