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PWDA Alert
  Thursday 18 April 2013

Wednesday 17 April 2013
 
This morning, representatives of the Australian CRPD Parallel Report Group, Therese Sands and Damian Griffis together with Gayle Rankine, Chair of First Peoples Disability Network conducted a side-event for the CRPD Committee and other interested UN agencies, DPOs and non-government organisations. 
 
Here is their summary:
 
“We had about 15 minutes to highlight views from our submission to the list of issues for Australia and about 30 minutes to answer questions put to us by CRPD Committee members.  
 
We began by acknowledging Australia’s disability reform agenda, the fact that Australia has a strong human rights record and that it is a very wealthy country.  We argued that these facts meant that there should be a high standard for Australia in realising the rights of people with disability in Australia.
 
From left to right: Ms Victoria Lee (International Disability Alliance), Therese Sands (Australian CRPD Civil Society Parallel Report Group representative), Damian Griffiths (Australian CRPD Civil Society Parallel Report Group representative), Gayle Rankine (Chair of First Peoples Disability Network), Ms Elinor Milne (Global Initiative to End all Corporal Punishment against Children)
From left to right: Ms Victoria Lee (International Disability Alliance), Therese Sands (Australian CRPD Civil Society Parallel Report Group representative), Damian Griffiths (Australian CRPD Civil Society Parallel Report Group representative), Gayle Rankine (Chair of First Peoples Disability Network), Ms Elinor Milne (Global Initiative to End all Corporal Punishment against Children)
We then set out key areas of concern, including:
  • the significant disadvantage experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability;
  • the indefinite detention without conviction of people with disability, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability in prisons;
  • the high rates of violence, exploitation and abuse experienced by people with disability, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women with disability;
  • the lack of incorporation of CRPD and other human rights obligations into domestic law;
  • the effect of the recent delay in reforming anti-discrimination law;
  • the lack of an effective framework for engagement with people with disability and their representative organisations;
  • the hindered reform in relation to supported decision-making, mental health laws and migration law and policy as a result of the interpretative declarations made by Australia in relation to Article 12, 17 and 18;
  • the existence of institutions and the redevelopment of institutions where people with disability may be required to live in order to received support;
  • the ongoing practice of involuntary or coerced sterilisation;
  • the removal of children from parents with disability, on the basis of disability;
  • the segregation of some people with disability in segregated employment where they are subjected to lower wages and work conditions than other people;
  • the use of restrictive practices, such as chemical, mechanical and physical restraint and seclusion, including the use of these practices on children with disability in both segregated and mainstream schools.
CRPD Committee members asked over ten questions aimed at clarifying issues contained in our submission as well as raising other issues regarding voting access, inclusive education, access to justice, disaster management and issues for children with disability. Some CRPD Committee members also met with us briefly after our session to clarify points in our submission to the List of Issues as well as Disability Rights Now.”
 
Following the side-event, the CRPD Committee commenced its closed morning session to consider the list of issues for El Salvador, Austria and Australia. This will be the focus of the CRPD Committee’s work for the rest of the week.
 
Therese, Damian and Gayle briefly met with the CCPR Centre, an international NGO assisting organisations to report on implementation of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR) in their country.
 
The CRPD Committee commenced its half-day of general discussion on women and girls with disability in the afternoon. The general discussions of the CRPD Committee allow Committee members to consider specific CRPD rights in greater depth, in this case article 6, Women with Disabilities.
 
The discussion was divided into three sessions - intersectionality, violence against women and sexual and reproductive rights.
 
The discussion included formal presentations from UN agencies, International Disability Alliance (IDA), CRPD Committee members and non-government organisations, as well brief statements from DPOs and organisations from the floor.
 
On behalf of Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA), Therese delivered a statement in the session on sexual and reproductive rights. The statement highlighted key concerns:
  • direct interference with women’s bodily integrity through forced sterilisation and coerced abortions;
  • the removal of children from mothers with disability based on assumptions about parenting capacity; and
  • the systematic exclusion of women and girls with disability from reproductive and sexual health information, education and support based on assumptions that women with disability are asexual or oversexed and are not capable of or should not be parents.
WWDA asked the CRPD Committee to develop a general comment on women and girls with disability that comprehensively clarifies the obligations of States Parties in relation to sexual and reproductive rights.
 
As part of the general discussion, a side-event on the rights of indigenous women and girls with disability was co-hosted by the International Disability Alliance (IDA) and the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund (DRAF). Gayle was a member of the panel of speakers and she highlighted key concerns regarding the higher incidence of violence experienced by Aboriginal women and girls with disability. Olga Montufar from Mexico and Doreen Demas from Canada also presented on this panel.
 
Thanks
Therese Sands
On behalf of the Australian CRPD Civil Society Parallel Report Group
People with Disability Australia (PWDA)
www.pwd.org.au (02) 9370 3100 1800 422 015