On 29 May 2017, the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (the Committee) opened its 61st session. At this session, the Committee will be reviewing States’ formal reports on the progress toward implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) in Australia, Liechtenstein, Netherlands, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Uruguay. The Committee is a body of 18 independent experts that monitors implementation of the Covenant by its States parties.
Australia was last reviewed in May 2009, and since this time, it has been reviewed by a number of other United Nations human rights mechanisms, many of which are directly relevant to the Committee’s review of Australia’s obligations under ICESCR.
DPO Australia is leading the Australian NGO Human Rights Coalition, and is represented by Ngila Bevan and Dean Price from People with Disability Australia.
Ngila Bevan will be making an opening statement to the Committee on behalf of the NGO Coalition. The opening statement will draw the Committee’s attention to key issues including:
- Australia’s harsh and discriminatory asylum seeker regime;
- The systemic disadvantage experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the need to improve opportunity for self-determination of Australia’s first peoples;
- The need for a Royal Commission into violence, abuse and neglect of people with disability living in Australia;
- The need for further work to improve gender inequality and ending all forms of violence against women.
- Improving equitably access to education;
- Discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people;
- The need to improve workers’ rights, including workers on temporary visas who are frequently exploited.
Leading up to the review, DPO Australia contributed to an extensive joint NGO submission that highlighted key issues for people with disability.
Reviews are held in public and will be webcast live by the United Nations Office of Geneva. Australia’s review will be taking place at 11pm AEST Tuesday 30th May and 6pm AEST Wednesday 31st May 2017.
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