Media Release: Australian with Disability Voted onto the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

A woman, Rosemary Kayess, sits a wheelchair with her hands on her lap. She has blonde grey hair and wears a mustard coloured cardigan over a white shirt and scarf. A controller is positioned beneath her chin. Credit: UnknownDisabled People’s Organisations Australia (DPO Australia) warmly congratulates Australian candidate, Rosemary Kayess on her election to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The election took place overnight at the United Nations in New York. This week, countries that have ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) are meeting for the annual Conference of States Parties (COSP) including a high-level delegation from Australia’s disability community.

Elections for nine new members of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities were held following the opening of the COSP. Australia’s candidate, Rosemary Kayess was fully endorsed by DPO Australia. Her successful election to the CRPD Committee, from 22 candidates, was a moment of celebration for DPO Australia, civil society and the Australian Government delegates at the COSP.

Therese Sands, spokesperson for DPO Australia said: “The election of Rosemary Kayess to the CRPD Committee is significant for the human rights of people with disability. The CRPD Committee is critical to monitoring implementation of our human rights, and Rosemary’s skills and expertise will greatly contribute to this work.”

“Rosemary is an accomplished human rights lawyer, researcher and academic. Rosemary has in-depth knowledge of the CRPD and its implementation and was a key contributor to the development of the CRPD, as part of the Australian Government delegation at the time.”

“As a woman with disability, Rosemary brings strong gender expertise and perspective that is critically needed to address the disadvantage and marginalisation experienced by women and girls with disability around the world. Her election, along with a number of other women with disability, will assist to redress the gender imbalance that has been a recent feature of the CRPD Committee where there has been only one woman on the 18 person committee,” said Ms Sands.

The theme of this year’s COSP is “Leaving no one behind through the full implementation of the CRPD”. DPO Australia is working with Australian civil society colleagues and people with disability from around the world to ensure our issues and concerns are integral to this theme and the full implementation of the CRPD.

During the COSP, DPO Australia will be hosting an event, LGBTIQA+ people with disability & implementation of the CRPD. This will be the first time that inclusion of LGBTIQA+ people with disability has been discussed at COSP.

Representatives from DPO Australia will also participate in several events including the Human Rights Watch side-event to discuss people with disability in the criminal justice system; and an event organised by the Disability Rights Fund (DRF) and Humanity and Inclusion (HI) on the rights of women and girls with disability.

Australian Delegation to COSP

The Australian Government delegation is led by The Hon. Jane Prentice MP, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services, and includes representatives from the Department of Social Services (DSS), the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC).

The DPO Australia delegation includes representatives from each of the four member organisations – People with Disability Australia, First Peoples Disability Network Australia, National Ethnic Disability Alliance and Women With Disabilities Australia. DPO Australia is working closely with Australian civil society representatives and the Australian Government delegation to ensure that our views and concerns are central to discussions and decision-making.

Note to editors:

For more information on the COSP and the participation of DPO Australia and civil society see:

For more information about Rosemary and the CRPD committee election process:

Rosemary Kayess CRPD Candidacy brochure PDF
Women Enabled International
Visit UNTB Elections and scroll down to the relevant treaty body.
Video information with International Sign Language interpretation

Further information about the COSP is available on the UN website

The COSP will be webcast on UN Web TV.

More information:

Sara Irvine
Communications Director, First Peoples Disability Network Australia
+61 402 982 002