I would like to begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we meet today, the Lenape people, whose lands were never ceded. I pay my respects to all First Nations peoples across the globe.
Today there remain significant issues with legislative, policy and practice frameworks across the world, resulting in the indefinite detention of people with disability,
Article 14 of the CRPD asserts the right of people with disability to liberty and security, a fundamental principle we hold dear. Yet, member states continue to detain individuals with disabilities based on their actual or perceived impairments, perpetuating discriminatory and arbitrary deprivation of liberty. This grave injustice demands our unwavering commitment to advocate for the absolute prohibition of detention based on disability.
In Australia, specific groups, including individuals with intellectual or psychosocial disability and First Nations peoples, face disproportionate detention. The root causes of which lie within systems of guardianship, substitute decision-making, and mental health laws. These systems perpetuate human rights abuses, neglect our physical and mental well-being, and deny us the necessary support for informed decision-making.
Violations that starkly contradict the fundamental principles enshrined within the CRPD.
As we deliberate upon the harmonization of national policies and strategies with the CRPD, we must confront the uncomfortable truth that globally, current systems continue to deny individuals with disabilities their rightful equality before the law.
We must also address the intersecting inequalities faced by Indigenous individuals with disabilities, necessitating a dedicated and tailored response. I call on the UNCRPD committee to establish a formal mechanism alongside the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This mechanism will serve as a platform to amplify the voices of Indigenous individuals with disabilities from every corner of the globe. Such a mechanism must be endowed with regularity and robust resources, ensuring its ongoing role as an integral part of the UNCRPD’s work.
We must end indefinite detention.
We must provide necessary supports to address disadvantage.
We must recognise equality before the law.
We must ensure full human rights protections.
Now is the time for action. Let us demonstrate dedication to promoting and protecting disability rights, so we can foster a world of universal liberty and security. Thank you.