Public hearing 18: The human rights of people with disability and making the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities a reality in Australian law, policies and practices was live streamed on the Royal Commission website on 8 and 9 November 2021. Our Vice President Kelly Cox and Senior Research Officer Frances Quan Farrant were in a panel with First Peoples Disability Network’s Damian Griffis and June Riemer on Monday afternoon, talking about our work in human rights, disability advocacy and holding government accountable for how Australia treats people with disability.
We were live on Twitter both days at @PWDAustralia. Catch up on Monday’s thread here, starting with human rights lawyer and UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Committee Vice Chair Rosemary Kayess and our former Co-CEO Therese Sands. (If you want to hear more from Rosemary, here’s our former president Bonnie Millen interviewing her at our 2018 AGM).
The part of the thread about our panel with FPDN begins from this tweet.
Note that sometimes Twitter truncates threads and you need to tap “show more replies” to see the rest!
Everyone has human rights worth protecting. That can look different for people with disability. Human rights violations might seem normal to many people because of ableism, ignorance and power dynamics. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) gets specific about our rights. It tells governments what it looks like to support the human rights of people with disability in their work. This includes:
PWDA helped make the CRPD happen in 2006 by organising consultations and sending people with disability to the UN to advocate for it. In 2012 and 2019, we were part of the groups of non-government organisations that told the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities about Australia’s slow progress in implementing the CRPD. People with disability across the country told us about their experiences through our survey and other consultations, helping to create the Civil Society Shadow Report, and we were part of a delegation of people with disability and our organisations that presented that report to the Committee and told them our stories.
We also use other international conventions and treaties in our work, such as the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (also known as OPCAT). The original Convention Against Torture (CAT) spells out the rights of people who have been detained in any formal way – such as:
OPCAT is an extra agreement that says we will make sure all those places are regularly checked out to see if they are following the rules. Find out more about OPCAT and Australia’s progress on implementing it from the Australian Human Rights Commission.