International participation in disability issues

The Department of Social Services (DSS) works with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Attorney-General’s Department, the Australian Human Rights Commissioner and international organisations, including the United Nations (UN), on policy development and research for Australian and international disability issues.

UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) provides a framework for all nations, describing the rights of persons with disabilities and setting out processes and expectations to maintain and secure these rights. Although the CRPD does not create new rights, it specifically prohibits discrimination against people with disability in all areas of life.

On 30 March 2007, Australia was one of the original state signatories to the CRPD. On 17 July 2008 and 30 July 2009 sequentially, Australia ratified the CRPD and the Optional Protocol. The Optional Protocol makes Australia more accountable, ensuring CRPD obligations are achieved and promotes Australia as an international leader in disability rights.

Australia participated in the inaugural election of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN Committee). Australia’s first report to the UN Committee on the measures that give effect to our obligations under the CRPD was delivered in December 2010. A combined second and third Australian report will be presented to the UN Committee in 2018.

Australian Government, Disability Peak Organisation (DPOs) and Disability Advocacy Organisation (DAOs) representatives attend the annual CRPD Conference of States Parties (COSP). The COSP provides an opportunity for Australia to engage in dialogue with other nations and connect individuals, organisations with best practice ideas around mechanisms to secure and advance the rights of persons with disabilities. Information about Australian Government assistance for DPO and DAO representatives to attend key international forums on human rights can be found on the Australian Human Rights Commission website.

Australian legislation to support the rights of people with disability includes:

Other relevant and interrelated frameworks or networks DSS considers in international particpation on disability issues include:

  • The Incheon Strategy to “Make the Right Real” for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific
    • agreed upon by all member States of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), provides Asia and the Pacific, and the world, with the first set of regionally agreed upon disability-inclusive development goals comprising of 10 interrelated goals, 27 targets, and 62 indicators.

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