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UPR Disability Coordination Group Statement

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UPR Disability Coordination Group Statement





UPR Disability Coordination Group Statement

on Australia’s response to the second Universal Periodic Review 2015


We commend the Australian Government for its engagement with civil society in the Universal Periodic Review process.

We acknowledge and commend Australia’s voluntary commitment improving the way the criminal justice system treats people with cognitive disability. The implementation of this commitment must include establishing a Council of Australian Government working group to develop a nationally consistent legislative framework to facilitate due legal process to end indefinite detention of people with disability without conviction. The reform process must include meaningful engagement of key stakeholders.

We also welcome Australia giving consideration to how persons with disability can be better supported to make decisions. This should include the adoption of the National Decision-Making Principles and Guidelines recommended by the Australian Law Reform Commission. Australia should work with, and support, State and Territory Governments to review laws and legal frameworks. Australia’s interpretative declaration to article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) should be withdrawn so as not to limit reform in this area.

Violence against people with disability in institutional and residential settings is a national epidemic. Australia needs to commit to implement the recommendations from the report of the Senate Committee Inquiry, Violence, abuse and neglect against people with disability, in particular, the recommendation to conduct a Royal Commission.

Australia's response to violence must also recognise intersectional disadvantage to inform the implementation of the Third Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children. Violence against women in institutional and residential settings and forced or coercive sterilisation and intersex medical treatment must be included in this Third Action Plan.

Finally, we are deeply concerned that although Australia has noted the recommendations, it intends to take no further action on the prohibition of forced sterilisation. Since 2005, UN human rights treaty bodies and the Human Rights Council have made recommendations to Australia to enact national legislation to prohibit forced sterilisation. The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has stated that forced sterilisation and ‘sex normalising’ procedures are a form of torture. Despite this, Australia continues these practices for people with disability, particularly women and girls with disability, and people with intersex variations where forced sterilisation and ‘sex normalising’ practices are regulated with a focus on authorisation and non-binding guidelines rather than prohibition of these practices.



More information: UPR Disability Coordination Group, c/- Therese Sands, People with Disability Australia, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.