People with disability to take concerns to United Nations

A delegation of people with disability is getting ready to present to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN Committee) about the progress Australia has made to make our rights real.

The UN Committee is reviewing Australia’s progress in implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on 12 and 13 September 2019, and as part of this review, it will listen to the views of the delegation of people with disability.

“I will be heading to the UN in Geneva in September, with six other people with disability from around Australia, to talk about the issues that we want the UN Committee to understand about our lives,” said Judy Huett, delegation co-lead and mentor from Speak Out Tasmania.

“I’ve been talking with many other people with disability, particularly people with intellectual disability like me, about what needs to change so that we can really be equal.”

“There are several Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability, including myself, going to the United Nations for the UN review, to talk about the toll that both racism and ableism are having on our community,” said Damian Griffis, delegation co-lead and mentor, and CEO of First Peoples Disability Network.

“We are highlighting the unacceptable level of incarceration of our people, including people with disability being kept in prison when they haven’t been convicted of a crime.”

The delegation of seven people with disability has been selected by the Civil Society CRPD Shadow Report Working Group that has prepared the report, Disability Rights Now 2019 for the UN Committee. The delegation will present to the UN Committee about the views in Disability Rights Now 2019, which looks in detail at whether Australia is fulfilling its obligations under the CRPD.

A survey of nearly 900 people with disability was undertaken for the report, which found high levels of disadvantage, poverty and a lack of support.

“I’ve advocated for a long time that people with disability need to be living in the community, and not institutions, and live safely and free from violence. These are just some of the issues we will be taking to Geneva next month,” 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.”

“All the delegation members will be gathering in Sydney this week to discuss the key themes of the Disability Rights Now 2019 report, as well as looking in detail at what we want the UN Committee to know about the lives of people with disability in Australia,” said Mr Griffis.

The Civil Society CRPD Shadow Report Working Group acknowledges and thanks the Australian Government for their financial support towards the preparation of Disability Rights Now 2019 and towards the travel costs for the delegation.

List of delegates

  • Judy Huett
  • Damian Griffis
  • Noel Muller
  • Lauren Henley
  • Sonia Hume
  • Justen Thomas
  • Kelly Cox

The Civil Society CRPD Shadow Report Working Group:

  • Disabled People’s Organisations Australia (DPO Australia)
  • Council for Intellectual Disability NSW (CID)
  • Queensland Advocacy Incorporated (QAI)
  • Advocacy for Inclusion (AFI)
  • Disability Advocacy Network Australia (DANA)
  • Australian Centre for Disability Law (ACDL)
  • Queensland Voice for Mental Health (QVMH)
  • Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA)
  • Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO)

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