The Human Rights Law Resource Centre has made a submission to the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department strongly supporting ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Optional Protocol to the Convention.
It is well recognized that people with disabilities are more vulnerable than the broader community to a range of deprivations and disadvantages, including poverty, social exclusion, discrimination, poor health, unemployment and low educational attainment.
The Convention enshrines the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights that are necessary to ensure that people with disabilities have the capacity and opportunity to fully participate in and contribute to our community. It sets out a detailed code for the implementation of human rights for persons with disabilities. The Optional Protocol provides a mechanism by which individuals and groups may submit a complaint to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that a State has breached its obligations under the Convention, provided the complainant has first exhausted domestic remedies.
Australia, including Australian civil society, played an important role in the negotiation of the Convention and was among its first signatories. With the commitment of the Rudd Government to a more constructive engagement with the UN and the international community, ratification of the Convention would demonstrate that Australia will once more play a leading role in the development, implementation, realization and enforcement of fundamental human rights standards.